Physiological response to a speech stressor presented in a virtual reality environment

Michael Kotlyar, Christopher Donahue, Paul Thuras, Matt G. Kushner, Natalie O'Gorman, Erin A. Smith, David E. Adson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The feasibility of using virtual reality (VR) technology to induce a physiological response to stress was assessed in 12 volunteers during a laboratory session in which each participant completed a speech task within a VR environment and a math task outside the VR environment. Both tasks were effective in eliciting a physiological response with significant increases observed in response to each stress task in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Increases in plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine concentrations were observed during the speech task and in plasma epinephrine concentrations during the math task although these differences did not reach statistical significance. The use of VR technology may be a viable alternative to methods currently employed in presenting stressful tasks with the potential advantage of decreased variability in the audience response to the participants' performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1037
Number of pages4
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Blood pressure
  • Catecholamines
  • Heart rate
  • Mental stress
  • Virtual reality


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