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How does interface influence the level of analgesia when Virtual Reality distraction is used?

Group publication title:

Polish Journal of Applied Psychology

Subject and Keywords:

pain tolerance   thermal stimulation   analgesia   virtual reality   virtual environment


The Polish Journal of Applied Psychology is primarily devoted to original investigations that contribute new knowledge and understanding to all fields of applied psychology. PJAP is mainly interested in publishing empirical articles, where quantitative as well as qualitative analyses of data enhance our understanding of individuals, groups or various social systems and have practical implications within particular contexts. Conceptual or theoretical papers may be accepted if they bring a special contribution into the field for application.


This study investigates the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) technology in distracting attention from pain. We tested how body engagement related to navigating the virtual environment (VE) influences the intensity of pain. Two different interfaces were used to play the same VE, and a cold pressor test was used for pain stimulation. A mixed design was used for the experiment. Sixty-six undergraduate students participated. One group navigated the game using a rotation sensor, head tracker and foot pedals (Body Movement Interface). Another group navigated only using their hands (Hand Movement Interface). Objective and subjective measures of pain were collected – the amount of time participants kept their hand in a container with cold water, and the participant’s assessment of the pain intensity on a visual analog scale (VAS). Participants also filled in questionnaires designed to measure feelings of presence in VE and emotional attitudes towards the game. We found no significant difference between the two used interfaces in their analgesic efficacy. In both groups during VR distraction, participants showed significantly higher levels of pain endurance than without VR distraction.

Place of publishing:



Department of Psychology, University of Wrocław   www.psychologia.uni.wroc.pl   Publishing House eBooki.com.pl   www.ebooki.com.pl

Date issued:


Detailed Type:





ISSN 2354-0052



Is part of:

Polish Journal of Applied Psychology Volume 12, Number 1, 2014

Is referenced by:


Access rights:

Attribution, Non-Commercial, ShareAlike


Creative Commons - Attribution, Non-Commercial, NoDerivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)   click here to follow the link

Rights holder:

Copyright by Joanna Piskorz, Marcin Czub, Katarzyna Urbańska, Małgorzata Mrula, Paweł Hodowaniec, Mateusz Misiewicz

Autor opisu: