2007, David J. Zielinski Rachael Brady

This project aims to understand how the test subjects react and behave in stressful immersive environments. It was developed in VirTools and is presented as an interactive 3D kitchen scene. The test subjects are asked to perform two tasks during their nine minutes in the environment. The environment becomes increasingly stressful through irritating audio cues and the frustration of difficulty completing the tasks. Psychophysiologic (e.g., skin conductance) and self-report measures of stress reactivity are recorded and analyzed with the goal of understanding how a person’s ability to cope with stressful situations is related to issues such as stress management and addiction. Our goal is to develop and validate this task as a new biobehavioral measure of emotion regulation. Once the task is validated, it can be tested as a possible marker of treatment outcome in a wide range of treatments for various psychiatric problems related to difficulty managing stress.