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URA Archive
Scholars 2008 - 2009

Bridget Armstrong, Psychology

“Effects of Using Head Mounted Display Helmet for Virtual Reality Distraction on Cold Pressor Pain in College Students ”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lynnda M. Dahlquist
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2009

Immersive Virtual Reality (VR) has gained prominence in the clinical psychology literature as a powerful distractor from procedural pain. VR offers an alternative to pharmacological treatments that may cause adverse side effects or may not be safe for use with young children. Although this new technology has been proven effective in numerous studies, it can be very expensive and thus is not routinely used in clinical settings. This study examines one aspect of VR technology that is thought to increase distraction aspect of VR and thereby enhance pain tolerance—the use of a head mounted display helmet. A sample of 75 college age students will be tested with the VR technology while experiencing cold pressor induced pain. The results from this study will be used to help determine the features of VR technology that are crucial for pain distraction.