How level of realism influences anxiety in virtual reality environments for a job interview
This study describes how the level of graphical realism required in a virtual social simulation setting can be therapeutically useful in reducing job interview anxiety through exposure. We developed a virtual job interview simulation at a university career service to help student populations faced with the prospect of their first job interview. The virtual job interview simulation can deliver a realistic mock job interview within a high-quality immersive system that is similar to professional virtual reality (VR) systems. We conducted two experimental studies with a common theme: the role of graphical reality of the virtual interviewer and the immersive visual display in the virtual job interview simulation. The results are presented in this study based on a psycho-physiological approach, revealing variation in the distribution of participants anxiety state across various VR conditions. The overall conclusion of this study is that the sense of anxiety is less correlated to the graphical realism in VR environment even though the more graphically detailed the virtual human was, the more it provoked a sense of presence. In addition, at least some degree of physical immersion is needed to maintain anxiety levels over the course of VR exposure. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.