EEG alpha asymmetry, heart rate variability and cortisol in response to virtual reality induced stress

Anne-Marie Brouwer, M.A. Neerincx, V. Kallen, Leslie Van Der Leer, M. ten Brinke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose to combine Virtual Reality (VR) and bio-neuro feedback to help treat stress-related disorders. As a first step in that direction, we here attempted to induce stress through VR and identify (neuro)physiological correlates. Nine participants performed a surveillance task in two different cities within VR while EEG, ECG and cortisol level were recorded over time. We aimed to induce stress by simulating a bomb explosion and providing negative feedback about the participant’s performance. Associative stress was elicited by having participants return to the city where the bomb explosion occurred and they supposedly performed badly. (Associative) stress was reflected in EEG mid-frontal alpha
asymmetry, heart variability and cortisol level. General stress levels as expressed by cortisol and midfrontal alpha asymmetry correlated between participants. These results are promising for a successful implementation of a VR bio-neuro feedback system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-40
JournalJournal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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