A wide range of services are provided by the Immersive Virtual Environment Testing Area (IVETA) and its staff including, for example, scientific consultation, data collection, study administration, and arranging and funding procurement of necessary scientific materials. During this reporting year, five Social and Behavioral Research Branch-initiated research projects have been served by the IVETA team. The IVETA staff contributed to development, preparation, and administration of an in-lab protocol to evaluate participant use of a family health history data collection web application (PI: Koehly) during this reporting year. The IVETA team planned, oversaw programming, and developed protocols for a study assessing the influence of patient emotion on reactions to obesity-related genomic information in clinical encounters (PI: Persky). The study team has been engaged in data collection for the IVETA-based virtual reality experimental arm of this project. The team has also been involved in creating materials for the upcoming internet-based arm of this project. In addition, the IVETA team contributed to study design, equipment, materials, and administration of a project aiming to assess patient-physician communication around uncertainty in encounters involving prostate cancer treatment decisions (PI: Han). For this protocol, IVETA staff consulted on study design and planning, prepared a virtual reality environment to suit the project, and prepared a virtual reality protocol and system that was delivered to Maine Medical Center where offsite data collection is currently in progress. The IVETA team has maintained and administered a virtual reality-based test of participant attention in conjunction with a larger study on brain structure and function of children with ADHD (PI: Shaw). During this reporting year, the team has completed a feasibility trial assessing inclusion of this virtual reality assessment, and has begun regular contribution to the longitudinal data collection effort for this project. Finally, the IVETA staff has contributed a project assessing the influence of patient race/ethnicity and socio-economic status on physician decision-making related to personalized medicine (PI: Bonham). During this reporting year, the team has consulted on study design and material creation, overseen programming, developed study protocols, and set up a virtual reality protocol and system to be used for upcoming offsite data collection. In addition to directly serving the research needs of the Social and Behavioral Research Branch, the IVETA team also conducts research and assessments to expand its own capabilities. During this reporting year the IVETA team has conducted a pilot study that aims to assess the feasibility and added value of including physiological assessments of participant reaction to immersive virtual clinical simulations. Data collection on this study is completed and analyses are ongoing.

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National Human Genome Research Institute
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Persky, Susan; Goldring, Megan R; Turner, Sara A et al. (2018) Validity of assessing child feeding with virtual reality. Appetite 123:201-207
Persky, Susan (2011) Application of virtual reality methods to obesity prevention and management research. J Diabetes Sci Technol 5:333-9
Persky, Susan (2011) Employing immersive virtual environments for innovative experiments in health care communication. Patient Educ Couns 82:313-7