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Brunna Tuschen-Caffier, Bernhard Nebel (Internal Senior Fellows, Interdisciplinary Research Groups): "Coping with Emergencies."

Wann 06.07.2011
von 18:30 bis 19:30
Wo FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminarraum
Kontakttelefon 0761/203-97426
Termin übernehmen vCal

The tsunami that happened in Japan recently, the accidents in nuclear power plants or the attack of the World Trade Center in 2001 demonstrated that emergencies and coping with them are of high relevance for people around the world. Moreover, research shows that about 80% of the society is exposed at least to one traumatic stress event at some time in their lives (e g. motor vehicle accidents, thunder storms). However, up until now little is known about functional and dysfunctional coping styles (e.g. reappraisal or suppression of emotion) of first responders and victims. Whereas it has been shown several times that suppression of emotion has negative long-term effects on mental as well as physical health, it is still unknown whether emotion-regulation by suppression may be helpful (or not) for problem-solving in acute emergency situations.
In order to address these research questions, our interdisciplinary research group (experts of psychology and informatics) developed and implemented a research paradigm   using virtual reality techniques to observe and analyze how subjects act in specific emergencies. The assessment of psychophysiological, subjective and behavioral data allows us to model emotions and decision making in emergency situations, in the aim to achieve believable, virtual agents in such emergency scenarios.
In this Dinner Speech the research group will give an overview of the work in progress. First, we will introduce related work that gives rise to challenging research questions concerning coping in emergency situations, in particular with respect to emotion regulation. Second, we will present our technical set-up that serves as an innovative VR-tool to investigate human responses during emergencies. Third, pilot data of our first empirical trials will be presented and discussed. Fourth, we will discuss implications for further research to develop and evaluate VR-scenarios that allow for human interaction with virtual agents in emergency situations.