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Psychosis, which is defined as the loss of contact with external reality, is a subjective and complex experience that has two major presentations: delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are defined in a spectrum from overvalued ideas that can be considered as the upper extreme of normal limits, to the presence of crystallised, systematic ideas, without any external proof that clearly interferes with the experiencer’s life. The same is true for hallucinations, as it can be experienced by any person in some point of their life or it can be multimodal which dominates the thinking process and leads to verbal or behavioural response. Despite the prevalence of both experiences, and even though medical students participate in theory-based education as well as apprenticeship in psychiatric wards, they find the experience non-tangible and difficult to digest. Improvement in technology has led to development of computer programmes, such as virtual reality (VR), by which the sense of immersion is induced in a simulated environment through combining sensory inputs with computer-generated graphics and effects and mostly is used through a head-mounted display. Constructivist movements have placed emphasis on active learning and visual-spatial abilities in education and VR has paved the way for its practical application. In this research project, along with producing an authentic virtual psychotic experience according to patients’ real-life experiences, we aim to assess its efficacy in improving knowledge, attitude and empathy towards people with psychotic experience, in comparison with the current method of education.
Keywords: Virtual reality, psychotic experience, simulation, medical education, e-learning.
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