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Virtual Reality Food Has Same Emotional Impact On Patients With Eating Disorders

July 5, 2010: 11:04 PM EST
Researchers in Italy who compared the effects on female anorexics and bulimics of exposure to real food, virtual food and food photographs found that virtual reality food carries the same emotional impact as real food. The participants were shown six real high-calorie foods placed on a table in front of them. Heart rate and skin conductance were measured, along with psychological stress. The process was then repeated with a slide show and a virtual reality trip into a computer-generated diner. The researchers concluded from the results that virtual food can be used for the evaluation and treatment of eating disorders.
Alessandra Gorini, Eric Griez, Anna Petrova and Giuseppe Riva, "Assessment of the emotional responses produced by exposure to real food, virtual food and photographs of food in patients affected by eating disorders", Annals of General Psychiatry, July 05, 2010, © BioMed Central Ltd
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