A virtual reality approach to the Trier Social Stress Test: Contrasting two distinct protocols

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Title: A virtual reality approach to the Trier Social Stress Test: Contrasting two distinct protocols
Authors: Montero-López, Eva | Santos-Ruiz, Ana | García-Ríos, M. Carmen | Rodríguez-Blázquez, Raúl | Pérez-García, Miguel | Peralta-Ramírez, María Isabel
Research Group/s: Calidad de Vida, Bienestar Psicológico y Salud | Psicología de la Delincuencia, Psicocriminología y Ciencias Forenses (PSIDECRIMYCIF)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Psicología de la Salud
Keywords: TSST | Virtual reality | Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis | Sympathetic activation | Salivary cortisol
Knowledge Area: Psicología Básica
Issue Date: Mar-2016
Publisher: Springer US
Citation: Behavior Research Methods. 2016, 48(1): 223-232. doi:10.3758/s13428-015-0565-4
Abstract: Virtual reality adaptations of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST-VR) constitute useful tools for studying the physiologic axes involved in the stress response. Here, we aimed to determine the most appropriate experimental approach to the TSST-VR when investigating the modulation of the axes involved in the stress response. We compared the use of goggles versus a screen projection in the TSST-VR paradigm. Forty-five healthy participants were divided into two groups: the first one (goggles condition; 13 females, 11 males) wore goggles while performing the TSST-VR; the second (screen condition; 15 females, six males) was exposed to the TSST-VR projected on a screen. Sympathetic reactivity to stress was measured by continuously recording skin conductance (SC), while the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) was evaluated by sampling salivary cortisol throughout the experiment. At the end of the task, there was an increase in SC and cortisol level for both means of delivering the TSST-VR, although the increase in SC was greater in the goggles condition, while salivary cortisol was comparable in both groups. Immersion levels were reportedly higher in the screen presentation than in the goggles group. In terms of sex differences, females experienced greater involvement and spatial presence, though comparatively less experienced realism, than their male counterparts. These findings help us determine which protocol of the TSST-VR is most suitable for the stress response under study. They also emphasize the need to consider the sex of participants, as males and females show distinct responses in each protocol.
Sponsor: This study is a part of a Thesis Doctoral and was supported by the I+D Project “PSI2010-15780” of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/62749
ISSN: 1554-351X (Print) | 1554-3528 (Online)
DOI: 10.3758/s13428-015-0565-4
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2015
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13428-015-0565-4
Appears in Collections:INV - PSYBHE - Artículos de Revistas
INV - CV, BP Y S - Artículos de Revistas

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