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Embodying compassion: a virtual reality paradigm for overcoming excessive self-criticism.

Falconer, CJ; Slater, M; Rovira, A; King, JA; Gilbert, P; Antley, A; Brewin, CR; (2014) Embodying compassion: a virtual reality paradigm for overcoming excessive self-criticism. PLoS One , 9 (11) , Article e111933 . 10.1371/journal.pone.0111933. Green open access

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Abstract

Virtual reality has been successfully used to study and treat psychological disorders such as phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder but has rarely been applied to clinically-relevant emotions other than fear and anxiety. Self-criticism is a ubiquitous feature of psychopathology and can be treated by increasing levels of self-compassion. We exploited the known effects of identification with a virtual body to arrange for healthy female volunteers high in self-criticism to experience self-compassion from an embodied first-person perspective within immersive virtual reality. Whereas observation and practice of compassionate responses reduced self-criticism, the additional experience of embodiment also increased self-compassion and feelings of being safe. The results suggest potential new uses for immersive virtual reality in a range of clinical conditions.

Type: Article
Title: Embodying compassion: a virtual reality paradigm for overcoming excessive self-criticism.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111933
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111933
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 Falconer et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1455895
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