What is our goal?

Our goal is to improve human interactions through training with virtual humans


The Virtual Environments for Therapeutic Solutions (VETS) is a project that creates virtual environments like a virtual grocery store for war veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI). The virtual grocery store is an example of a day-to-day scenario where one is faced with cognitive challenges like finding items on a grocery list or comparing items to identify the item with the desired nutritional content and also emotional challenges like having to interact with other people in the store. The virtual grocery store provides a safe environment for therapists to expose affected veterans to these cognitive and emotional challenges safely and control their exposure through constant evaluation and feedback.

Virtual Environments for Therapeautic Solutions (VETS)

Pain Scenarios

The purpose of the pain project is to examine how experiencing a perspective-taking intervention might reduce racial and socio-economic (SES) disparities in pain treatment. Previous studies have shown significant differences in the pain treatment given to Black and low SES as compared with White and high SES patients, respectively, and other intervention techniques have not effectively reduced these disparities. The pain project’s perspective-taking intervention consists of videos created with the Sims that reflect different scenes of a patient’s life, focusing specifically on how back pain has affected that patient’s life. 

Neurological Exam Rehearsal Virtual Environment (NERVE)

The NERVE project is a simulator for cranial nerve injuries, which cause problems such as double vision and facial paralysis. Traditionally, medical students practice interview skills with trained actors, who portray a certain condition during the interview. It is impossible for actors to simulate abnormal findings such as the ones provided by cranial nerve injuries. The Neurological Exam Rehearsal Virtual Environment (NERVE) has been used by over 200 students and is helping ensure that medical students can provide high-quality treatment to patients with abnormal injuries.


A link to our project can be found HERE

Team Training

Many of the most common high-stakes interactions that take place in a medical setting require multiple people to work together as a team. Training for these situations is often difficult due to the number of people involved. Virtual humans can reduce the complexity in team training by serving as stand-ins for key personnel, as needed. However, many significant questions must be answered before allowing virtual humans to incorporate smoothly into fast-paced training environments. We are investigating how training protocols can be leveraged to aid the development of virtual humans.

The Virtual Experiences Research Group

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