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Using Virtual Reality (VR) to Understand the Effects of Biophilic Design on Patients in 3D Healthcare Environments

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Research has shown that biophilic design can impact an individual’s health and well-being in a variety of ways. Studies have identified that the majority of patients exposed to direct nature and natural patterns reported experiencing less stress and increased coping ability (Totaforti, 2018). Despite the emergence in popularity of Biophilic Design research, there is still little research on its overall impact on stress levels in healthcare environments. In this study we explored how Biophilic Design effected participants’ stress levels after being exposed to a 3D virtual healthcare environment. Eye-tracking together with physiological monitors that measured heart rate and skin conductance levels were used to analyze participants stress responses after randomly being selected to experience one of three virtual environments (VE). We hypothesized that exposure to the VEs with biophilic design will result in lower stress levels in patients. In order to test this, we recruited 30 participants to participate in a between-group study using VR. Participants were randomly assigned to experience one of three virtual healthcare settings and have their physiological indicators measured as they experienced the space. Finally, participants were asked to fill out questionnaires regarding their stress, pleasure and arousal, and satisfaction levels.



Allison Howard








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