Adolescent Behavior; Adolescent Psychology; Anxiety Disorders; Psychophysiology; Social Behavior; Social Behavior Disorders; Stress Disorders, Traumatic, Acute; Stress, Psychological; Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy
My main research focus is to develope and evaluate new technology-based tools for psychological therapy to treat behavioral and stress-related disorders in adolescence and young adults. This research sets out to understand human experiences and behavior in Virtual Reality (VR) as well as to assess the nature of social interaction with virtual entities. VR is used to explore the basics of virtual experiences and to assess possibilities of use such as a tool for psychological treatment. VR offers manifold possibilities to treat disorders affecting social behavior as well as stress-related disorders using game-based therapy tools as well as VR exposure therapy. Furthermore I'm interested in the development of new assessments of stress-related disorders in children and adolescents to validate diagnosis, using proper multidimensional questionnaires and psychophysiological measures (ECG, SCL, EMG, EEG).
Techniques, methods & infrastructure
Sophisticated virtual reality applications and technologies (HMD, motion tracking devices, custom made fully interactive virtual simulations) are used to study human behavior and experiences in virtual environments. Additonally, the simulations may be used for exposure therapy purposes.
- Kothgassner, O. D., Goreis, A., Kafka, J. X., Kaufmann, M., Atteneder, K., Beutl, L., ... & Felnhofer, A. (2019). Virtual social support buffers stress response: An experimental comparison of real-life and virtual support prior to a social stressor. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 63, 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.11.003
- Kothgassner, O.D., Plener, P.L., Sachser, C., Witt, A., Brähler, E. & Fegert, J. (2019). Adverse Childhood Experiences and Avatar Preferences in Online Games: Results from a Population-Based Survey in Germany. Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie. https://doi.org/10.1024/1422-4917/a000647
- Kothgassner, O. D., Goreis, A., Kafka, J. X., Hlavacs, H., Beutl, L., Kryspin-Exner, I., & Felnhofer, A. (2018). Agency and Gender Influence Older Adults' Presence-Related Experiences in an Interactive Virtual Environment. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 21(5), 318-324. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0691
- Kothgassner, O. D., Griesinger, M., Kettner, K., Wayan, K., Völkl-Kernstock, S., Hlavacs, H., ... & Felnhofer, A. (2017). Real-life prosocial behavior decreases after being socially excluded by avatars, not agents. Computers in Human Behavior 70, 261-269. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.059
- Kothgassner, O. D., Felnhofer, A., Hlavacs, H., Beutl, L., Palme, R., Kryspin-Exner, I., & Glenk, L. M. (2016). Salivary cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity to a public speaking task in a virtual and real-life environment. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 124-135. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.081