Research demonstrates the impact of virtual social training

Research demonstrates the impact of virtual social training

Research demonstrates impact of virtual social training Charisma avatar maker 1.0. Participants have the ability to customize their avatar in the virtual world to create a sense of authenticity. Credit: Borders in virtual reality (2022). DOI: 10.3389/frvir.2022.1004162

New research from the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas demonstrates that Charisma Virtual Social Coaching supports the development of social skills through controlled, focused practice in a computer-generated, three-dimensional virtual environment. Charisma is a personalized, strategy-focused, fully online social coaching program.

This award-winning, avatar-focused virtual gaming environment uses a combination of social cognitive strategy training, strengths-based coaching, and real-time practice to develop skills associated with initiating conversations, maintaining relationships , promoting emotional intelligence, managing interpersonal dynamics, and improving overall daily social interactions.

The research, “Charisma Virtual Social Training: A Digital Health Platform and Protocol,” was recently published in Borders in virtual reality.

This study examined the impact of 10 hours of social training on sixty-seven children and adolescents aged 9 to 17 years. The research explored two models of delivery (in-person or remote) in two populations (Parental Report of Autism Spectrum Disorder- Diagnosis of ASD versus Non-ASD Diagnosis, including Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder-ADHD, mental health problems and other social learning disabilities).

Nine social cognitive strategies were taught and then practiced with interspersed social coaching. Results before and after training demonstrated significant benefits in young people being able to recognize emotions, infer social intentions, understand perspectives, and describe their positive prosocial qualities.

The training was effective regardless of the delivery model. This important discovery may eliminate the need for young people to interact with on-site clinicians at a school or specialized center and enable online training from the comfort and safety of home. Similarly, there were no differences in performance outcomes between the ASD and non-ASD groups, suggesting that Charisma may be effective for any young person struggling with social interactions.

Lead author Maria Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP, Director of Youth and Family Innovations at the Center for BrainHealth, said, “These promising findings support the potential of new virtual technology tools to improve the social skills of young people with of various social difficulties, by verifying the positive impact of distance social training in a virtual gaming environment.”

More information:
Maria Johnson et al, Charisma virtual social training: A digital health platform and protocol, Borders in virtual reality (2022). DOI: 10.3389/frvir.2022.1004162

Provided by the Center for Brain Health

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