News, events and research from the cyberpsychology team in IADT.

Increasing empathy towards the visually impaired using virtual reality

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A current research project in IADT.

Blacked out glasses, blindfolds and pitch black rooms can be used to simulate temporary blindness. This allows sighted people to experience the challenges visually impaired people face. Such experiences are used for raising awareness, creating empathy and fundraising by charities. Virtual Reality (VR) allows one to see and feel the world from someone else’s perspective. Empathy is often recognised as the ability “to put yourself in someone else’s shoes”.
By creating a VR experience which safely recreates visual impairments we argue that people who experience low-vision using VR New Media Technologies (VRNMT) will have more empathy towards people with low-vision over those who have not used VRNMT.

A randomised control-group pre-test-post test design was developed. Both groups completed the Empathy Quotient 40-item questionnaire developed by Simon Baron-Cohen. Participants in the experimental group experience exposure to a virtual low-vision experience developed using a 360º video camera and viewable on Smartphones via VR headsets.

Online exposure via VRNMT could greatly enhance levels of empathy for people with low-vision in the general population. Funding amounts and opportunities for all stakeholders involved in efforts to improve the lives of people with low-vision may also be greatly enhanced.


Prof. Brenda Wiederhold’s talk in IADT

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Prof. Brenda Wiederhold


As part of the preparations for the ‘Cyberpsychology, Cybertherapy and Social Networking’ Conference which will be held in IADT on June 27-29th 2016, IADT was visited by Prof. Brenda Wiederhold, the Editor in Chief of the ‘Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking’ Journal, and one of the most influential authors, researchers and practitioners in the field of cyberpsychology.


Prof. Wiederhold gave a talk titled ’20 years of Virtual Reality and Biofeedback: A View from the Trenches’.


20 Years of Virtual Reality and Biofeedback:  A View from the Trenches


During this talk, Prof. Wiederhold discussed her use of VR and biofeedback for anxiety, stress, trauma and chronic pain over the past two decades. She described how these treatments are beginning to be translated into the home setting with the advent of more affordable, portable technologies. Prof. Wiederhold also discussed her pivotal role in the advancement of the field of Cyberpsychology, particularly focusing on her work with the ‘CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking’ Journal which she is Editor-in-Chief of, the ‘Cyberpsychology, Cybertherapy and Social Networking (CYPSY)’ Conference, and the ‘International Association of Cyberpsychology, Training and Rehabiltation (iACToR).




Prof. Brenda K. Wiederhold is Executive Director of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC), a professional medical corporation with offices in San Diego and Los Angeles, California and as Chief Executive Officer of the Interactive Media Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the application of advanced technologies for patient care. She is also a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSD. Dr. Wiederhold is a licensed clinical psychologist and has a doctorate in Clinical Health Psychology, as well as national certification in both biofeedback and neurofeedback. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Cyber Psychology, Behavior, & Social Networking Journal and is recognized as a national and international expert in the treatment of anxiety, panic and phobias with virtual reality exposure and cognitive-behavioral therapy, having completed over 3,000 VR therapy sessions.​




Cyber Psychologist position with the US Army Cyber Institute

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Cyber psychology job:

I wish to inform you that our ad on USAJobs will go live on Monday, 7 September for our Cyber Psychologist position. It will remain open until Monday, 5 October.  Please forward to any interested parties that you are aware of and refer them to

LTC Paul Maxwell, PhD