Fear of Public speaking
It is likely that the most common social phobia is fear of public speaking. Fear of public speaking is the third most common psychiatric disorder and was listed by the Book of Lists as the #1 fear among Americans and an article published in the Wall Street Journal reported that “stage fright” afflicts 20 million people at some point during their lifetimes.
Virtual reality exposure therapy places the client in a computer-generated environment where they “experience” the various aspects of public speaking. The client wears a head-mounted display with small TV monitors and stereo earphones to receive both visual and auditory cues.
In this interactive virtual environment, participants can do role-playing across various scenarios, which may be followed by feedback and discussion with the therapist. The therapist can role play as an audience member and asks questions to the presenter via a microphone. Real-time Bio-feedback provides the therapist with all of the patient’s vitals, including heart rate, respiration, skin conductance, temperature, electroencephalogram (EEG), and electrocardiogram (ECG). The optional head mount display (HMD) is equipped with a head tracker that detects the patient’s head rotations and position while navigating through the virtual world.
The Public Speaking virtual environment consists of a real video footage of a large audience and a small office meeting audience.