The emerging other: an essay about the study of social ecology of VR-Therapy

Carlo Galimberti, Matteo Cantamesse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


VR-based psychological therapy is largely used in different clinical approaches and a variety of studies can be found in the literature about the experience of VR-therapy sessions. Usually, such studies are focused on a user's private experience. With this contribution, we present a perspective to improve VRsession definition towards a "co-defined reality", abandoning both artifact and user–artifact centered interaction in favour of a "situated and context sensible" interaction analysis. Theoretical background is based on an ethnometodological approach: this perspective gives evidence of how people, in specific social situations, produce shared meanings. Within such theoretical framework, an analysis has been conducted with reference to two different dimensions. From a strictly ergonomic point of view, main results are related to the improvement of VR training sessions and to patient integration in the framework of the therapeutic protocol, to avoid interruptions and breakdowns. With reference to the sense of presence, we investigated how therapist and patient can populate with “others” and “meanings” the co-defined environment and how a VE's level of interactivity influences the quality of the immersive experience. Main findings highlight the sequential and dialogical process of VR fruition and could help in VR technical design process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalAnnual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • VR-Therapy
  • social ecology


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