Avatar therapy-linked emotions identified in treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Avatar therapy-linked emotions identified in treatment-resistant schizophrenia

The predominant emotions expressed by patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia undergoing virtual reality-based Avatar therapy (AT) are mostly neutral, joy, and anger emotions, according to a study published online June 12 in BMC Psychiatry.

Alexandre Hudon, M.D., from the Centre de recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal, and colleagues used content analysis of immersive sessions transcripts and audio recordings for 16 patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia who underwent AT between 2017 and 2022 to identify the underlying emotions at the core of the patient-Avatar interaction during AT.

The researchers identified anger, contempt/disgust, fear, sadness, shame/embarrassment, interest, surprise, joy, and neutral emotions in the study. Patients mostly expressed neutral, joy, and anger emotions, while interest, disgust/contempt, and neutral emotions were the predominant emotions expressed by the Avatar.

“This study portrays a first qualitative insight on the emotions that are expressed in AT and serves as a steppingstone for further investigation in the role of emotions in the therapeutic outcomes of AT,” the authors write.

More information:
Alexandre Hudon et al, Exploration of the role of emotional expression of treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients having followed virtual reality therapy: a content analysis, BMC Psychiatry (2023). DOI: 10.1186/s12888-023-04861-2

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