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Accession Number ADA582787
Title Virtual Reality Adaptive Stimulation in Stress Resistance Training.
Publication Date Apr 2011
Media Count 20p
Personal Author B. Dropuljic D. Kukolja K. Cosic M. Horvat S. Popovic
Abstract Serious mental health problems in the current large-scale NATO operations underscore the importance of predeployment mental stress resistance program. Therefore, the development of new effective training tools and coping strategies for the minimization of operational stress disorders is extremely important. The concept of closed-loop virtual reality adaptive stimulation (VRAS) proposed in this paper may strengthen cognitive capacities and cognitive strategies in mission-threatening situations through repetitive delivery of stressful stimuli and simultaneous practice of relevant stress-coping skills. Stimulation training strategy is based on the gradual exposure of trainees to real-life mission-oriented video clips characterized by different stressful context, semantics and emotional properties. These audio-visual stimuli activate a cascade of events in the brain, which evokes various emotional and cognitive reactions in trainees. Their emotional stress response assessment is based on comprehensive physiological measurements and artificial neural network emotional state estimation. The neurobiological objective of such training program is focused on strengthening the inhibition of the amygdala circuitry network response by the prefrontal cortex. The orbitofrontal/ventromedial prefrontal cortex (OFC/VMPFC) context-dependent regulation and attenuation of amygdala reactivity might be enhanced by learning new cognitive appraisal of perceived threats, which is supported by the VRAS training system. Better regulation of the amygdala by the OFC/VMPFC may reduce operational failures and may even decrease severe operational casualties. A stronger inhibition of the amygdala leads to a decreased activation of the hypothalamus and the brainstem nuclei. Therefore, we may expect to observe lowering of the physiological reactivity to stressful stimuli with improvement in the stress-coping skills. The context, semantics and emotional richness of stress exposure stimuli, as well as individual cognitive appraisal, have a dominant impact on the intensity of perceived threats during VRAS training exercises. This is critically important for the entire VRAS training psychological concept. Learning new cognitive appraisals of perceived threats is extremely important for maintaining soldier's emotional and behavioral control, mission success and minimization of the negative impact of stress on their mental health. The better amygdala regulation facilitated by the VRAS stress-resistance training program as a kind of new learning may provide contextual and cognitive regulation of stress response. Changes in the physiological reactivity of trainees during delivery of various stressful stimuli can be longitudinally monitored by the VRAS closed-loop system. Comparative analysis based on physiological measurements and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a pilot study of a small group of novice trainees versus ISAF deployment-ready Croatian soldiers is illustrated. Obtained pilot data indicate the importance of the parietal cortex and the temporo-parietal function in coping with potentially stressful stimuli.
Keywords Foreign reports
Knowledge representation
Mental health
Nato furnished
Neurobiology
Stimuli
Stress resistance training
Stress(Psychology)
Virtual reality
Vras(Virtual reality adaptive stimulation)

 
Source Agency Non Paid ADAS
NTIS Subject Category 92B - Psychology
57T - Psychiatry
62 - Computers, Control & Information Theory
Corporate Author Zagreb Univ. (Croatia). Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1401
Contract Number N/A

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