“Public speaking anxiety, virtual reality exposure, and the role of expectancy violation and self-efficacy”
Ravesteyn, Levi van
MetadataShow full item record
Aim: Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is regarded as an effective treatment for public speaking anxiety (PSA). However, the effects are difficult to attribute to the Inhibitory Learning Model (ILM). In the ILM, the importance of expectancy violation during exposure is emphasized, meaning the occurrence of a mismatch between feared and actual outcomes. This study investigated potential working mechanisms of VRET by exploring the role of expectancy violation and self-efficacy. Methods: Participants reported their feared expectancies related to public speaking, and conducted 5 presentations in VR, split over two sessions. A total of 18 participants were randomly assigned to the experimental or control condition. Exclusively in the experimental condition participants were informed that the VR audience was unable to react to the presentations. Results: We found that PSA decreased based on one instrument but increased based on another instrument. Additionally, the magnitude of expectancy violation did not differ between treatment conditions. Interestingly, self-efficacy improvements were exclusively found in the experimental condition. Conclusion: The effects of VRET were not explicitly explained by the working mechanisms of expectancy violation and self-efficacy. However, there are indications that VRET in combination with a safe learning environment could be used to build self-efficacy.