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Brian Dixon and Holger Regenbrecht, Delta Psychology / Departments of Psychology and Information Science


Virtual Reality Supported Therapy: Technologies and Ethics


Archway 2 - 1:00 pm, Friday 18 April


Over the past decade there have been major developments in computer-based technologies that have enabled new approaches to psychological assessment and the delivery of psychological treatments. This has opened up entirely new fields of research and clinical techniques with increasingly sophisticated systems for psychometric measurement, the use of virtual reality technology in a wide range of therapeutic endeavours and provision of services across networks or into remote locations using the internet.

These developments have been so extensive and have occurred at such a pace that health professions have found it difficult to address the ethical implications of the new technology applications in psychology and mental health and to develop guidelines and codes relating to their use in research and clinical settings.

In their collaborative work on local research initiatives on VR treatment applications, the presenters have reviewed a range of VR and remote delivery technologies and the first author has provided advice to the Southern Regional Ethics Committee on ethical issues associated with the new approaches and on guidelines for decision-makers. This talk briefly outlines the technological developments, highlights several of the ethical issues identified and suggests sources of guidance on safe and ethical use of the technologies in clinical practice.

This talk was given at the Bioethics 2008 conference held in Dunedin earlier this year. Even if it discusses ethical issues in a very specific application context it might be of interest for researchers in other CS/IS fields.

Last modified: Monday, 07-Apr-2008 14:01:03 NZST

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