Project

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Go Where No-One Has Gone: Virtual Reality for Interpersonal Skills Training

Applicant Schmid Mast Marianne
Number 183564
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Département de comportement organisationnel Faculté des HEC Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Interdisciplinary
Start/End 01.06.2019 - 31.05.2024
Approved amount 1'594'190.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Interdisciplinary
Psychology
Neurophysiology and Brain Research

Keywords (4)

neuro-bio-feedback training; virtual reality; stress responses; interpersonal skills training

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les nouvelles technologies comme la réalité virtuelle immersive offrent de nouvelles possibilités pour l'entraînement des compétences interpersonnelles: apprendre des nouvelles compétences de son avatar-soi ou apprendre dans un environnement sur mesure pour contrer le stress ressenti durant une interaction sociale
Lay summary

L'objectif de notre recherche est de tester comment la réalité virtuelle immersive peut aider dans le développement des compétences interpersonnelles comme présenter en public ou montrer plus d'empathie envers les autres dans des situations sociales difficiles. Un élément clé qui empêche l'apprentissage de nouvelles compétences sociales est le stress ou l'anxiété provoqué par les interactions sociales. Dans une série d'études, nous testons comment la réalité virtuelle immersive peut aider à créer des conditions d'apprentissage optimales pour développer ses compétences sociales. Nous suivons une approche individualisée dans laquelle nous visons à identifier des profils d'anxiété personnalisés durant l'entraînement pour proposer les meilleures stratégies d'intervention possibles via un feedback neurobiologique pour optimiser l'acquisition de nouvelles compétences sociales.


Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.05.2019

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
New technologies such as Immersive virtual reality (IVR) offer new possibilities for training of interpersonal skills: learn new skills from your avatar-self or learn in an environment individually tailored to your acceptable stress level.
Lay summary
The goal of our research is to test how Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) can help in developing interpersonal skills such as better public speaking or showing more empathy towards others in difficult social situations. One of the key factors preventing social skills to develop is anxiety and stress in social interactions. In several studies, we test how IVR can help to create optimal learning conditions for social skills development. We pursue an individual difference approach in that we aim at identifying individual anxiety profiles during social skills training in order to propose best possible intervention strategies via neuro-bio-feedback training in order to optimize social skill learning.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.05.2019

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
IMVEST, an immersive multimodal virtual environment stress test for humans that adjusts challenge to individual's performance
Rodrigues João, Studer Erik, Streuber Stephan, Sandi Carmen (2021), IMVEST, an immersive multimodal virtual environment stress test for humans that adjusts challenge to individual's performance, in Neurobiology of Stress, 15, 100382-100382.
To err is human, not algorithmic – Robust reactions to erring algorithms
Renier Laetitia A., Schmid Mast Marianne, Bekbergenova Anely (2021), To err is human, not algorithmic – Robust reactions to erring algorithms, in Computers in Human Behavior, 124, 106879.
An Opportunity to Investigate the Role of Specific Nonverbal Cues and First Impression in Interviews using Deepfake Based Controlled Video Generation
Vijay Rahil Satyanarayan, Shubham Kumar, Renier Laetitia Aurelie, Kleinlogel Emmanuelle P., Mast Marianne Schmid, Jayagopi Dinesh Babu (2021), An Opportunity to Investigate the Role of Specific Nonverbal Cues and First Impression in Interviews using Deepfake Based Controlled Video Generation, in ICMI '21: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MULTIMODAL INTERACTION, Montreal QC CanadaAssociation for Computing Machinery - ACM, New York, NY, United States.
Nonverbal Social Sensing: What Social Sensing Can and Cannot Do for the Study of Nonverbal Behavior From Video
Renier Laetitia Aurelie, Schmid Mast Marianne, Dael Nele, Kleinlogel Emmanuelle Patricia (2021), Nonverbal Social Sensing: What Social Sensing Can and Cannot Do for the Study of Nonverbal Behavior From Video, in Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 606548.
Doppelganger-based training: Imitating our virtual self to accelerate interpersonal skills learning
Kleinlogel Emmanuelle P., Curdy Marion, Rodrigues João, Sandi Carmen, Schmid Mast Marianne (2021), Doppelganger-based training: Imitating our virtual self to accelerate interpersonal skills learning, in PLOS ONE, 16(2), e0245960-e0245960.
Locomotion in virtual environments predicts cardiovascular responsiveness to subsequent stressful challenges
Rodrigues João, Studer Erik, Streuber Stephan, Meyer Nathalie, Sandi Carmen (2020), Locomotion in virtual environments predicts cardiovascular responsiveness to subsequent stressful challenges, in Nature Communications, 11(1), 5904-5904.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
88ème Congrès de l’ACFAS Talk given at a conference Apprendre de soi-même l’expressivité non verbale 03.05.2021 Quebec, Canada Schmid Mast Marianne; Renier Laetitia;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
197479 Storytelling and first impressions in face-to-face and algorithm-powered digital interviews 01.02.2021 Project funding

Abstract

We spend many of our waking hours in social interactions. In fact, our social life is markedly increasing in both, intensity and complexity, due to the growing degree of globalization, social and geographical mobility, and digital communication. To navigate successfully in those social interactions and obtain the outcomes we aim for, we need interpersonal skills such as being able to convincingly communicate (e.g., persuasion) and understanding our social interaction partners and their views (e.g., empathy). Developing one’s interpersonal skills becomes thus crucial. Today, we have new technologies at our hands that enable us to train such skills in radically new ways. Immersive virtual reality (IVR) and the interaction with virtual humans is used to train to overcome anxiety and stress in social interactions. The here proposed research pushes this methodology even further in that we advocate and test the effect of training scenarios that are impossible or unlikely in the real world. A first goal of the proposed research is to test whether using impossible or unlikely virtual reality social situations for training can increase training success in interpersonal skills acquisition. The second goal of the proposed research is to identify individual stress-profiles in relation to trait and social anxiety during training and to, then, use them to personalize interpersonal skills training via neuro-bio-feedback training.In the first phase of the project (Studies 1 to 3), we will investigate, in an experimental approach, the effect of impossible or unlikely interpersonal skills training scenarios in IVR and gather behavioral and neuro-physiological information. We will test whether adding fear of heights or reducing stress by providing a relaxing environment during training will help develop effective stress management which will then translate into better subsequent public speaking performance (reduced stress and increased persuasion, Study 1). In a second study on public speaking and persuasion, we will use a doppelganger (virtual human that looks like the participant but behaves independently of him/her) as a role model. We will test whether it will reduce stress during training and accelerate skill acquisition via identification with the role model and increase in self-efficacy (Study 2). With respect to empathy, we will turn the doppelganger into the interaction partner and test whether training to deliver bad news to the doppelganger (e.g., fire oneself - one’s doppelganger) increases empathy when delivering bad news to another person (Study 3). In the second phase of the project (Studies 4a and b), those participants who showed lower performance levels during phase 1, will be invited to participate in a follow-up, personalized training. To this end, we will develop a neuro-bio-feedback training (NBFT) approach based on individualized stress classifiers obtained for each individual. These will be used to provide feedback training to self-regulate participants’ stress level in real-time during skill acquisition in IVR.This project will greatly extend existing training models and contribute to theory building in organizational behavior, social, and work and organizational psychology. Moreover, it will develop a novel understanding of the physiological and neurophysiological underpinnings of stress and identify physiological and/or neurophysiological biomarkers of boundaries and permissiveness states to achieve more skillful social interactions. Importantly, the project will develop personalized neuro-bio-feedback training approaches to improve interpersonal skill acquisition in IVR. This research involves an interdisciplinary approach because it brings together competencies in the study of verbal and nonverbal behavior in social interactions studied in IVR environments by the first applicant, and expertise in stress and cognitive, neurophysiological and endocrinological functioning by the second applicant.
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