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Better gauging the reactions of sex offenders and assessing their therapeutic progress via virtual reality

Virtual reality may be the key to predicting both the behaviour of sex offenders and the effectiveness of the therapies they have undergone, according to a study undertaken by Massil Benbouriche of the University of Montreal’s School of Criminology. “It is currently impossible to define the circumstances in which patients will – or will not – contain their aggressive impulses following therapy or treatment or prevent themselves re-offending,” Benbouriche said. “By testing research protocols that can be applied using virtual reality, we are able to help empirically validate theories that could explain why offenders act on their impulses.”

[Virtual Reality Promises New Applications for Sexual Offending]
Virtual reality may be the key to predicting both the behaviour of sex offenders and the effectiveness of the therapies they have undergone, according to a study undertaken by Massil Benbouriche of the University of Montreal’s School of Criminology. a protocol was recently developed combining the penile ring with a visual scanning test using stimuli presented by computer to measure the period of gaze on the erogenous zones presented in the images and the period of gaze alteration between these zones. It allows determining with greater precision certain behaviours associated with deviant sexual preference. “Now, by combining these methods with virtual reality, we are able to submit individuals to an immersive experience by placing them in a vault, that is, a cube with four to six large screens on which stimuli are projected,” Benbouriche said. This image demonstrates a low intensity stimulus.
Credit: Universite de Montreal


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University of Montreal