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Visuo-spatial perspective-taking, avatar embodiment and the ability to cultivate compassion using virtual reality and mental imagery

Alden, NM; (2015) Visuo-spatial perspective-taking, avatar embodiment and the ability to cultivate compassion using virtual reality and mental imagery. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Aims This study explored whether allocentric visuo-spatial perspective-taking (VSPT) ability or sense of embodiment affect the ability to cultivate self-compassion in self-critical individuals using an immersive virtual reality (IVR) or mental imagery (MI) intervention. Change in self-compassion and self-criticism following the intervention was examined. Participants’ experience of the intervention and effects related to practicing imagining the intervention for two weeks were investigated. Method This was a parallel-groups, stratified randomisation, non-blinded study. Healthy adults high in trait self-criticism were randomly assigned to a one-off IVR (n = 20) or analogue MI (n = 20) intervention. Participants completed an allocentric VSPT task pre-intervention, an embodiment measure post-intervention and a state self-compassion and self-criticism measure pre-intervention, post-intervention and at two week follow-up. Ease of recall, frequency of practice and image vividness ratings were also completed at follow-up. Results Allocentric VSPT ability and embodiment were unrelated to change in state self-compassion or self-criticism following the interventions. State self-criticism reduced after both interventions but state self-compassion increased only after MI. The IVR intervention was experienced more negatively. Ease of recalling the MI intervention was positively related to allocentric VSPT ability. Reduction in state self-criticism after the IVR intervention was associated with greater image vividness. Conclusions Rather that VSPT ability or embodiment it may be the experience of the intervention that influenced state self-compassion and self-criticism. The MI intervention was more efficacious in cultivating self-compassion however the efficacy of the IVR intervention may be developed by addressing aspects that were experienced negatively. This study would benefit from replication and extension to investigate variations of the interventions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Visuo-spatial perspective-taking, avatar embodiment and the ability to cultivate compassion using virtual reality and mental imagery
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: 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
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471137
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