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Prof. Dr. Paul Pauli

Paulpauli Zugeschnitten

Prof. Dr. Paul Pauli

University of Würzburg, Germany

"Virtual Reality to assess and treat Anxiety Disorders"


Exaggerated reactivity to unpredictable threat has been proposed as a crucial factor in the etiology and maintenance of most anxiety disorder, including panic disorder (PD). We developed a virtual reality (VR) context conditioning paradigm which may be used to examine brain responses associated with contextual anxiety as well as reinstatement and generalization of contextual anxiety. Interestingly, we repeatedly found that contextual anxiety more easily generalizes on an explicit level (rating) than on an implicit level (startle response modulation). First studies with high risk participants with either elevated levels of trait anxiety or with panic attacks revealed that facilitated conditioning of contextual anxiety as well as its generalization might be risk factors for anxiety disorders. Finally, we used virtual reality to test whether habituation of anxiety responses or disconfirmation of expectancies are crucial to treat acrophobia.

  1. Fakultät für Psychologie, Pädagogik und Sportwissenschaft
  2. Institut für Psychologie