Public speaking anxiety decreases within repeated virtual reality training sessions

Marcel Takac, James Collett, Kristopher J. Blom, Russell Conduit, Imogen Rehm, Alexander De Foe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Therapy for public speaking phobia using virtual reality exposure (VRE) has focused on distress arousal rather than distress habituation. Understanding habituation will help optimise session duration, making treatment more affordable and accessible. This pilot study utilised within-speech repeated measures to examine distress habituation during three brief public speaking scenarios in a non-clinical sample (n = 19; 18–76 years). VRE elicited significant distress in all three scenarios. Although within-scenario distress habituation was not observed, between-scenario habituation was partially supported. An increase in distress during the second scenario indicated that three consecutive speech performances were critical in achieving habituation. Brief repeated VRE scenarios using an agent audience were effective in eliciting public speaking distress, as well as habituation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0216288
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

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