Acrophobia and Games

Essay by bear323College, Undergraduate July 2014

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Corey Karr


Mrs. Smith


"Pills and Games Help Conquer Fear"

Wow, talk about way to conquer your fear of heights! In 2003, Michael Davis,

Kerry Ressler and Barbara Rothbaum conducted an interesting experiment with

acrophobe's. To help people overcome their acrophobia, researchers have found that

when you put together a virtual reality game with a drug that cranks specific targeted

learning circuits in the human brain, this induces acrophobe's ability to overcome their

fear of heights in a positive manner.

This seems like a shot in the dark when you think of conquering your true fears through a video game. How could this ever truly work? Well, I asked the same question when reading only the title of the article itself. But if you think about it, going through a virtual reality game is much different than a regular, hand-held controller game. It can make you feel as if you are actually there and gives you the feeling you are actually in the act of whatever it is you are doing.

In this case, riding and elevator to bewildering heights in the courtyard of a high-rise hotel. And believe you me, if you are afraid of heights that doesn't seem as if it'd be your "cup of tea."

These three colleagues gave D-cycloserine (DCS) to some people who were afraid of heights. With neither the scientists nor the people being tested's knowledge, each participant was given either DCS or a regular sugar pill. Then, putting on the virtual goggles and going up as far as they possibly could. To add some more excitement, they even added a catwalk at the very top to test just how much they would push themselves high above the ground in circus-style fashion. If you think about it, this could potentially be dangerous...