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Virtual Reality as a new approach for risk taking assessment


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[EN] Understanding how people behave when facing hazardous situations, how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the risk taking (RT) decision making process and to what extent it is possible to modify their reactions externally, are questions that have long interested academics and society in general. In the spheres, among others, of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), the military, finance and sociology, this topic has multidisciplinary implications because we all constantly face RT situations. Researchers have hitherto assessed RT profiles by conducting questionnaires prior to and after the presentation of stimuli; however, this can lead to the production of biased, non-realistic, RT profiles. This is due to the reflexive nature of choosing an answer in a questionnaire, which is remote from the reactive, emotional and impulsive decision making processes inherent to real, risky situations. One way to address this question is to exploit VR capabilities to generate immersive environments that recreate realistic seeming but simulated hazardous situations. We propose VR as the next-generation tool to study RT processes, taking advantage of the big four families of metrics which can provide objective assessment methods with high ecological validity: the real-world risks approach (high presence VR environments triggering real-world reactions), embodied interactions (more natural interactions eliciting more natural behaviors), stealth assessment (unnoticed real-time assessments offering efficient behavioral metrics) and physiological real-time measurement (physiological signals avoiding subjective bias). Additionally, VR can provide an invaluable tool, after the assessment phase, to train in skills related to RT due to its transferability to real-world situations. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness funded projects "Advanced Therapeutic Tools for Mental Health" (DPI2016-77396-R), and "Assessment and Training on Decision Making in Risk Environments" (RTC-2017-6523-6) (MINECO/AEI/FEDER, UE). Juan-Ripoll, CD.; Soler-Domínguez, J.; Guixeres Provinciale, J.; Contero, M.; Álvarez Gutiérrez, N.; Alcañiz Raya, ML. (2018). Virtual Reality as a new approach for risk taking assessment. Frontiers in Psychology. 9:1-8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02532 Alcañiz, M., Rey, B., Tembl, J., & Parkhutik, V. (2009). A Neuroscience Approach to Virtual Reality Experience Using Transcranial Doppler Monitoring. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 18(2), 97-111. doi:10.1162/pres.18.2.97 Baird, I. S., & Thomas, H. (1985). Toward a Contingency Model of Strategic Risk Taking. Academy of Management Review, 10(2), 230-243. doi:10.5465/amr.1985.4278108 Barsade, S. G., Ramarajan, L., & Westen, D. (2009). 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