Sep 21, 2009
Increased personal space of patients with schizophrenia in a virtual social environment
Increased personal space of patients with schizophrenia in a virtual social environment.
Psychiatry Res. 2009 Sep 15;
Authors: Park SH, Ku J, Kim JJ, Jang HJ, Kim SY, Kim SH, Kim CH, Lee H, Kim IY, Kim SI
Virtual reality may be a good alternative method for measuring personal space and overcoming some limitations in previous studies on the social aspects of schizophrenia. Using this technology, we aimed to investigate the characteristics of personal space in patients with schizophrenia and evaluate the relationship between their social behaviors and schizophrenic symptoms. The distance from a virtual person and the angle of head orientation while talking to a virtual person in a virtual environment were measured in 30 patients with schizophrenia and 30 normal controls. It was found that patients with schizophrenia had longer distances and larger angles than did normal controls. The severity of the negative syndrome had significant inverse correlations with the distance from the angry and neutral virtual persons and with the angle of head orientation toward the happy and angry virtual persons, suggesting that negative symptoms may have a close relationship with personal space, including distancing and eye gaze. The larger personal space of patients may reflect their discomfort in close situations or cognitive deficits. Showing these profiles to patients could help them realize the amount of personal space they need.