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Virtual reality to overcome public speaking anxiety

Virtual reality to overcome public speaking anxiety

Dr Emma Rodero and Dr Olatz Larrea publish the results of their experiment in Comunicar

21.06.2022

Imatge inicial

For college students, communication skills are a crucial aspect of their education. Speaking in public will be essential for their academic career and their professional future. However, many students report a fear of speaking in public, the so-called Public Speaking Anxiety (PSA). Can Virtual Reality help to reduce this anxiety?

Dr Emma Rodero and Dr Olatz Larrea used Virtual Reality with distractors to examine if they were able to reduce the college students' anxiety. They used two methods to measure anxiety: electrodermal activity and self-report. The experiment was carried out in the public speaking course of two major European universities.

The students were separated into two, the control group and the experimental one. Both groups had to deliver their self-made speech twice while their electrodermal activity was measured. The experimental group was trained with VR before delivering the second time speech. Students also completed the Public Speaking Anxiety Scale and a survey to examine their experience.

The results showed that the VR training reduced the anxiety levels significantly in the experimental group. The researchers also measured the gender differences and a higher level of anxiety in male than in female students was found. Finally, participants reported a positive impression of the VR training. These results showed the effectiveness of Virtual Reality software with distractors to reduce public speaking anxiety.

 

Reference:

Rodero, E., & Larrea, O. (2022). Virtual reality with distractors to overcome public speaking anxiety in university students. [Realidad virtual con distractores para superar el miedo a hablar en público en universitarios]. Comunicar, 72. https://doi.org/10.3916/C72-2022-07

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