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Title: Multi-modal responses to the Virtual Reality Trier Social Stress Test: A comparison with standard interpersonal and control conditions
Author(s): M. A. Fallon, M. M. Riem, L. E. Kunst, W. J. Kop and N. Kupper
Journal: International Journal of Psychophysiology
Year: 2021
Volume: 161
Pages: 27-34
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2021.01.010
File URL: /vuams-pubs/Multi-modal responses to the Virtual Re...pdf
Keywords: Trier Social Stress Test, Virtual reality, Psychosocial stress, Cardiovascular responses, Heart rate variability
Abstract: The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) is a reliable social-evaluative stressor. To overcome limitations of the in vivo TSST, a standardized virtual reality TSST (VR-TSST) was developed. The present study compares the emotional (anxiety) and physiological (heart period and variability) response to a VR-TSST with an in vivo TSST and a control condition. Participants took part in either an in vivo TSST (N =106, 64% female), VR-TSST (N =52, 100% female), or a control TSST (N =20, 40% female). Mixed linear modeling examined response profile dif-ferences related to TSST type. While there was an equivalent anxiety response to the in vivo TSST as the VR-TSST, we found a smaller heart period and heart rate variability response in VR-TSST compared to the in vivo TSST, especially in response to the math part of the test. The present findings demonstrate that social evaluative stress can be successfully induced in a VR setting, producing similar emotional and slightly attenuated cardiovascular responses.

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