"From the Archives", first published in the Digest 29.09.03.
If so, join the gang - apparently 10-15 per cent of us are significantly scared while flying. Flight courses run by the major airlines are a successful remedy, but expensive. What about using virtual reality (VR)?
Andreas Muehlberger (University of Tubingen, Germany) and colleagues recruited 45 participants with a 'substantial fear of flying'. They found that 6-months later, participants who had received VR treatment and cognitive therapy reported greater reductions in their flying fear than participants who had received cognitive therapy only. It seems VR had played a vital role.
Moreover, VR was equally effective whether or not it included motion/vibration simulation together with visual and acoustic effects. According to the authors this "is of great practical relevance because the simulation of motion is the most demanding technically, and the most expensive component of VR".
Muehlberger, A., Wiedemann, G., & Pauli, P. (2003). Efficacy of a one-session virtual reality exposure treatment for fear of flying. Psychotherapy Research, 13, 323-336.