Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies

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Virtual Audience

Virtual Audiences Allow Exposure for Fear of Public Speaking

The Large and Small Audience environments allow a client to face an audience that the therapist can control. These are not Avatars! Virtually Better uses its patented approach to put 'real' people in the audiences. Keyboard commands allow the behavioral responses of the audience to the speaker (applause, bored audience, interested audience, mixed reaction audience and others) to be controlled by the therapist. Prepared text (outline, notes, etc.) can be loaded in the environment as a text file and scrolled along the top of the podium so that it may be seen in VR. Prepared slides can be shown on the screens behind the speaker. The Cyber Puck® from IIS allows the user to control the text and the slides. A curtain that the therapist controls is designed to facilitate work with anticipatory anxiety. A scripting language allows the environments to be pre-programmed to specific sequences of time and audience reactions. As with all other Virtually Better environments, the therapist speaks through a microphone into the environment to help maintain immersion. Virtually Better's Audiences are the clear leaders in exposure environments for speaking.

Small Conference Room Audience

The Conference Room Audience environment was the first of two virtual environments for learning public speaking. The participant stands behind a curtain with a podium on which their prepared text can appear and a slide screen to the rear. The 5 person audience is seated around a conference table. With keyboard commands, the basic behavioral responses of the audience to the speaker (applause, bored audience, interested audience, mixed reaction audience) can be controlled. Any prepared text can be included in the environment and scrolled along a virtual teleprompter on the top of the podium and the slides show .jpg files saved from commonly used Microsoft Power Point®.

Large Audience

The audience can be heard talking amongst themselves behind the therapist-controlled curtain. When the curtain opens, the field of view is filled with people, clapping, positive energy, neutral and 9 other audience behaviors. If you dread cell phones ringing, people falling asleep, getting up to leave and ignoring your talk, these Virtual Audiences can help you prepare. The behaviors of the audience are controlled by a therapist or the scripting language and simple graphical interface can be used to pre-program sequences and specific times. Say you need to hit that 20 minute talk on the nose - the curtain will open and 20 minutes later it will close. If you're not done, try it again. Spare your friends and colleagues from hearing the same talk over. If you set it up, the virtual audiences will still clap as you finish your 10th practice.

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