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>Virtual Body Illusions: a promising new tool for mental healthcare

A promising new tool for mental healthcare?

Virtual Body Illusions: a promising new tool for mental healthcare

Several psychiatric disorders – foremost anorexia nervosa – encompass an altered image of one’s own body. To date, the origin of such body image disturbances remains mysterious, and methods to detect and treat them remain limited. Virtual Body Illusions allow to confront patients with an alternative reality of their own bodies, possibly allowing to better understand and treat such disorders and helping millions of patients worldwide in the future.

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About The Speaker


Rubo Marius

Marius Rubo is a PostDoc in the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy workgroup at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He obtained his PhD from the University of Würzburg, Germany, for his work on social attention in reality and virtual reality. In his current work he uses the illusory experience of a virtual body in VR to investigate the roles of different sensory modalities in bodily consciousness. To this end, he developed a method based on the distortion of Euclidean space in VR which allows to install visuo-tactile congruency in virtual avatars which are more or less corpulent compared to one's physical body. This technique allows to highlight the specific role of tactile experiences in the creation and alteration of body representations. He furthermore investigates how changes in bodily consciousness are reflected in implicit markers such as movement behavior which helps to better understand the similarities and differences between implicit and explicit aspects of bodily experiences. These insights are important for better understanding clinical conditions involving body image disturbances such as Anorexia Nervosa.
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