Virtual Reality to cure fear of flying ?

Postby PeacefulFlight » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:30 pm

Hello everyone :D

I am looking to get some feedback on a project I am working on at the moment, which aims to help people who are anxious about flying.
It's a Virtual Reality Experience that puts you in a virtual aircraft which reproduces every phase of a flight realistically. During the flight, you get to know what's happening during the flight, and how to deal with your breathing to relax. The project is currently in a prototype stage.

But as I am not specialized in psychology/therapy my question is, do you think that a project like that can actually have a positive effect on someone who is afraid of flying ? Do you think that it's ok if I release the software freely on the internet, or should I give it only to therapists ?

Thank you for your answers !
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#1

Postby laureat » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:05 pm

success = confidence

if you only fantasy oneself fly and having a nice experience it can have a positive effect

the basic problem about our fears is the negative fantasy

your project: can have a positive effect at some level on everyone: if you only manage to give a beautiful experience: what you doing is you increase a positive fantasy about flying and reduce negative fantasy
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#2

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sat Dec 02, 2017 1:59 am

PeacefulFlight wrote:But as I am not specialized in psychology/therapy my question is, do you think that a project like that can actually have a positive effect on someone who is afraid of flying ? Do you think that it's ok if I release the software freely on the internet, or should I give it only to therapists ?


It is a good first step. Will it get a person with a legitimate fear of flying on a plane? Probably not. Regardless of how realistic, people know it is a simulation. Still, it can teach a lot of valuable concepts, e.g. simulate the safety briefing, potential turbulence or the captain saying due to weather the flight will need to circle, etc. Of course, this all can be done without software, but using tech does have plenty of benefits.

As an analogy, you can use a 3D digital environment to help with a phobia of spiders or better yet, a fear of heights. Simulation can be used to familiarize people with and prepare them for certain situations, but they know it is a simulation. They don’t go directly from a simulation to playing with spiders, peering off the edge of a cliff, or taking a plane flight.

In education it is called scaffolding, where you start with lower level concepts and work up to the more challenging. For phobias it means climb stairs, then a ladder, then to the top of a house, getting people more comfortable with higher and higher heights. A simulation can trigger the same physiological responses which is a plus, but it can’t replace the lived experience. Surviving a simulation of peering over a tall cliff does not replace actually looking off the roof of a one story building. Tricking the mind only goes so far.

There is no need to only give it to therapists. There are no legal implications. If a person gets on a plane or doesn’t get on a plane and tries to contribute the cause to your software, there is limited if any liability.

One potential barrier to consider, the market is very niche. To monetize the program I would do a pilot project, no pun intended. Maybe find a therapist that is interested. If you can show proof of concept, that the software works, you might be able to get an airline to fund further development. The return for the airlines is obvious. If they gain even 1% market share by adding passengers that previously used other forms of transport, it is a good return on their investment.
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