Virtual Reality Therapy and Medical Technology

Virtual reality therapy (VRT) describes the computer-generated simulation of immersive, interactive, and reality-close virtual environments for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. A typical VRT application is for instance the reality-close visual simulation of anxiety-provoking situations by means of VR glasses for exposure therapy in anxiety disorders.

The aim of the research group  "Virtual Reality Therapy and Medical Technology" (head: Dr. Niclas Braun) is the (further) development and psycho-physiological examination of VR-based diagnostic and therapeutic methods for mental disorders. In addition, the research group deals with various medical technology issues, such as the development of health apps.

Research areas

  • Development of new therapy approaches for the treatment of ADHD, BPD and psychotic disorders.
  • Neurophilosophical/psychiatric questions about the psychopathology and plasticity of the sense of self, using the virtual hand illusion and other body-transfer illusion paradigms
  • Collection of subjective, behavioral and electrophysiological data (EEG, EDA, EMG, ECG, Eyetracking)
  • Therapeutic applicability of the electrostimulative procedures (in particular, tACS)

Currently running research projects

  • Multimodal adult ADHD assessment  by means of virtual reality (Annika Wiebe, Mia Lia, supported by MEDICE)
  • VR-induced experience of depersonalisation and derealization (Carina Peckmann)
  • Smartphone-assisted psychoeducation for ADHD (Benjamin Selaskowski; as part of the AwareMe project)
  • P300 modulation via tACS in patients with ADHD (Kyra Kannen; as part of the ATTENTION project)
  • Limb perception under binocular rivalry (Helena Lügering)
  • Assessment of sense of agency in obsessive-compulsive disorder using a virtual reality stove-checking paradigm (in coorperation with our OCD research group)
  • Smartphone-assisted exposure therapy in agoraphobia and panic disorder (Annika Wiebe)
  • VR-based and eyetracking-assisted attention refocusing training for ADHD patients (Benjamin Selaskowski, Laura Marie Asché, supported by BONFOR)

Team

Publications and conference contributions

  • Spychala, N., Bongartz, E., Philipsen, A., Debener, S. & Braun, N. (2020). Self-paced, embodiable neurofeedback for post-stroke motor rehabilitation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00461
  • Möller, T.*, Braun, N.*, Herrmann, C. & Philipsen, A.. The Senses of Agency and Ownership in Borderline Personality Disorder: a Rubber Hand Illusion Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry (accepted).
  • Anders, D., Berisha, A., Lux, S., Philipsen, A. & Braun, N. Experimental Induction of Micro- and Macrosomatognosia: A Virtual Hand Illusion Study. DGPPN Kongressposter, 27.11.-30.11.2019, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Berisha, A., Anders, D., Lux, S., Philipsen, A. & Braun, N. Experimental Inducibility of Supernumerary Phantom Limbs. Accepted poster for DGPPN Kongressposter, 27.11.-30.11.2019, Berlin, Deutschland

Third-party funds raised

Opportunities for internships and dissertations

Professionally-suitable students (e.g. Psychology, Cognitive Science, Medicine, Informatics) who would like to write their master's or doctoral thesis about a clinical or neurophilosophical VR-related topic, are warmly welcomed to contact niclas.braun@ukbonn.de

Current tenders:

Opportunities for study participation

The VR-Laboratory as well as the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in general is constantly conducting new studies for which new study participants of all ages and sexes are being searched for.  

Please find under the following link a list of all currently running studies for which prospective probands are searched for.