#48 – Virtual Reality and Psychology with Albert “Skip” Rizzo, PhD

Albert “Skip” Rizzo, Ph.D. is a research scientist at the University of Southern California in their Institute for Creative Technologies. I learned about Skip’s work as the result of a fascinating article in the August issue of Wired Magazine. The article described his research into adapting a Virtual Reality video game, called Fulll Spectrum Warrior, to treat Post Traumatic Syndrome among soldiers returning from Iraq. This project has received widespread media attention and there are links to these stories and interviews on his website. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of Virtual Reality systems targeting the assessment and training/rehabilitation of spatial abilities, attention, memory, executive function and motor abilities. Additionally, he is conducting research on VR applications that use 360 Degree Panoramic video for exposure therapy (social phobia), role-playing applications (anger management, etc.). He is also investigating the use of VR for pain distraction at LA Children’s Hospital and is currently designing game-based physical rehabilitation VR scenarios for the elderly and persons with impairments due to do Central Nervous System dysfunction. He is the associate editor of the journal, CyberPsychology and Behavior; Senior Editor of the MIT Press journal, Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, and he is on a number of editorial boards for journals in the areas of cognition and computer technology. There is a wonderful sci-fi novel about virtual reality I recommend, which is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. The show closes with a podsafe tune by famed central park musician, David Ippolito, called “”Crazy on The Same Day.”

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