HUMAN PHOBIAS Shruti Shrikant Tayade Matriculation No

Shruti Shrikant Tayade
Matriculation No. -407606
Date – 8th June 2018
Term paper – I (Draft)
Summer Session 2018: Introduction to psychology
Human phobia is the most struggling issue in the current scenario that has been ignored most of the time by every individual. Phobia occurs when human suffer from extreme illogical fear. Millions of people are experiencing different types of phobia that is now treated as universal psychological disorder. Common causes of phobia are generally due to human beings exposed to uncomfortable situations. The study presented in this paper mainly focuses on causes of phobia, its effects and new treatment technologies. As we know phobia has large impact on the life of several people. People having such anxieties face difficulties in their work, education and personal relationships. To overcome this type of fear, its symptoms are studied. In addition to this, various phobia treatments are described in detail in the paper. The essence of the paper rotates around two modern technologies, virtual reality therapy and augmented reality therapy. These technologies are widely preferred nowadays, as the individuals are not exposed to dangerous experimental environment. Also, it reduces treatment cost.
As a matter of fact, virtual reality (VR) therapy helps to detect the specific cause of individual’s phobia, which can be achieved by creating flexible virtual environment. To analyse VR therapy, some experiments are conducted on claustrophobic individuals Christofi ; Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. Moreover, another therapy explains how computer generated images are used in physical world to reduce the fear Fatharany,, 2016, October. Both these methods are used to identify human psychology in overcoming their phobias. Finally, this study showed how virtual reality and augmented reality therapies support most of the treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy, systematic desensitization, flooding and implosion, and hypnosis Shunnaq, ; Raeder, 2016, June. The paper proposed some interesting methods for phobia treatment. However, in future, side effects of these therapies on individuals suffering from different phobias should be analysed.

Virtual reality develops the artificial environment, where the user’s experiences immersion and the perception of being inside that environment. Most of us are aware of the term ‘virtual reality’ (VR) and its technological use. However, according to normal human tendency, first importance of VR technology is in the gaming sector. At present, society needs new advanced technologies to solve the challenging issues faced by them during the development process Shunnaq & Raeder, 2016, June. In order to fulfil the requirement, virtual reality technology is used in many fields Shunnaq & Raeder, 2016, June. The field of education becomes more effective after using 3 D and virtual reality environment in their training. In addition to this, most important role of the virtual reality is in the medical field, where it is used as treatment for simulating some traumatic events, especially for the person’s suffering from psychological disorders like phobias. Another technology is augmented reality, it is used for the similar purpose of VR technology.
Augmented reality (AR) is the new technology that creates interaction of the real environment with the virtual objects Fatharany, Hariadi, Herumurti, ; Yuniarti, 2016, October. In this AR, virtual objects are superimposed into the real world through the screen of connected devices such as smart phones, computer devices, and tablets Fatharany, Hariadi, Herumurti, ; Yuniarti, 2016, October. The main purpose of this paper is to support many treatment techniques for the different types of phobias. Different types of panic situation can be overcome with the new treatment technologies such as VR therapy and AR therapy. Some studies are also conducted in the virtual environment as well as the real environment, in which individuals are made to face the environment to which they have extreme anxiety.
Phobia is the type of panic disorder that occurs when human beings are exposed to unwanted situation, place or objects Shunnaq ; Raeder, 2016, June. According to the research programs, the phobias are due to the stressful experience, a frightening event in the past history, or a parent or household member that is genetically Fatharany,, 2016, October. Some people have most common phobias such as fear of speaking in publics, meeting to new people, fear of being outside, and specific phobias. Almost more than 100 phobias are currently present in the world. It means many people are suffering with this disorder but cannot take medication, either because of the high cost, less availability or its side effect on the person’s health Shunnaq & Raeder, 2016, June.

Medications and psychotherapy are acting as good fortune for the phobia sufferers to overcome their problems WWW1. Different types of medication are available such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine and many more, but it has vulnerable side effects on person’s life. Some of the side effects of these medications are drying of mouth, nausea, unclear vision, constipation, dullness and trouble in sleeping WWW2. In rare cases, people with more anxious of the medication, even try to or attempt suicide.

So, psychotherapy is the best treatment method used to decrease the symptoms and effects of phobia. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one of the types of mental health therapy. It helps to decrease the effect of phobia on a person by distracting them from their way of thinking. Another therapy involves the step by step exposure of a person to the circumstances, to which they are phobic. These circumstances can be sometimes real but now days in order to avoid the risk of person’s life, computer generated graphics are used to create such situations. Virtual reality therapy (VR therapy) and augmented reality therapy (AR therapy) are the advance mental health treatment technologies Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October; Shunnaq, & Raeder, 2016, June.

Virtual Reality: In psychology, Virtual reality therapy is the most trending technology used for the treatment of several disorders. As we know phobias are due to some of these conditions like extreme heights, natural environments, insect bites, small animals, enclosed spaces and many more Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. Initially, in the real world it was very difficult to physically replicate the situations of fear for the treatments Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. However, now VR therapy technology facilitates the treatments by creating virtual environment for the phobia sufferers. For example, it is easily possible to simulate high places that create exact fear or anxiety with the help of VR technology Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October.

Procedure: The study is conducted in order to check whether the level of fear for the claustrophobia sufferers can be reduced with the help of environment created by VR technology Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. Where, claustrophobia is the situational phobia that occurs because of the enclosed spaces and the situation where individuals are physically restricted Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. In order to examine the effect of VR therapy on claustrophobia, one 43 years old women was considered for the experiment Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. For her phobia treatment of enclosed spaces different setting were made in VR environment Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October. Each time the size of the room and the ventilation available was reduced Christofi & Michael-Grigoriou, 2016, October.

Result: The end effect of the study showed that, after exposing the claustrophobic patient in the VR environment to different room sizes for around 45 minutes, her fear decreases adequately Shunnaq, & Raeder, 2016, June. Also this study investigate that, VR model is the tool to assist the treatment of mental health disorders by continuously exposing the individual to the highest level of fear Shunnaq, & Raeder, 2016, June.

Augmented reality: The term augmented reality is the modification in the real life environment by the addition of virtual object (computer generated 3 D objects) into the user’s perception Fatharany, Hariadi, Herumurti, ; Yuniarti, 2016, October. The main objective of such application is to create an environment with artificial objects, for the treatment of several mental health problems such as phobias, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, fear of flying, fear of small insects and small animals Fatharany,, 2016, October.

Procedure: The study is conducted for the students having different levels of cockroach phobia Fatharany,, 2016, October.All participants are considered within the age group of 20-23 years and studying higher education Fatharany,, 2016, October. During this study participants are made to concentrate into the computer screen and till then the substitution of marker objects with cockroaches are completed Fatharany,, 2016, October. This study is performed at four stages: ‘One static cockroach, one moving cockroach, three static cockroaches and three moving cockroaches’ Fatharany,, 2016, October.

Result: Participants exposure to the one static cockroach faces less anxiety (highest 7, lowest 1) as compared to the single moving cockroach (highest 8, lowest 1) Fatharany,, 2016, October. For the 3rd stage, where the three static cockroaches are considered the level of fear increases more (highest 8, lowest 2) Fatharany,, 2016, October. Furthermore, in the last stage, with three moving cockroaches, anxiety level reaches to highest 10 and lowest 1 Fatharany,, 2016, October. Overall, ‘we can conclude that the virtual objects developed from the augmented reality technology has showed its effective level of presence and reality’ and thus useful for the phobia treatments Fatharany,, 2016, October.

In this paper we have carried out two studies with VR and AR therapies for the phobia treatments. According to the case studies, both the treatment methods are simple and useful for the patients suffering from several phobias. Especially, the individual’s with claustrophobia and cockroach phobia can cure their psychological disorder with such advanced therapies without exposing themselves to the insecure and uncomfortable environment. For the future research, the side effects of both the VR and AR technologies should be studied on the patient while performing such studies. In addition to this, in augmented reality case study only small objects are considered. So, further research should be examined considering the large size objects.

Journal: Shunnaq, S., & Raeder, M. 2016, June. Virtual Phobia: A Model for Virtual Therapy of Phobias. In Virtual and Augmented Reality SVR, 2016 XVIII Symposium on pp. 59-63. IEEE.
Journal: Fatharany, F., Hariadi, R. R., Herumurti, D., & Yuniarti, A. 2016, October. Augmented reality application for cockroach phobia therapy using everyday objects as marker substitute. In Information & Communication Technology and Systems ICTS, 2016 International Conference on pp. 49-52. IEEE.
Journal: Christofi, M., & Michael-Grigoriou, D. 2016, October. Virtual environments design assessment for the treatment of claustrophobia. In Virtual System & Multimedia VSMM, 2016 22nd International Conference on pp. 1-8. IEEE.
Web:, 4 Ways to Face Your Fears and Overcome Phobias
Web:, Where Do Fears and Phobias Come From?