UTEP uses virtual reality to research stress

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Living in the desert can affect your mental state. A new study at UTEP is looking to understand how nature impacts your health, specifically stress.

The idea came from studies showing how humans are attracted to nature. Participants wearing virtual reality headsets are exposed to different environments before taking a health assessment and social stress tests.

Led by Dr. Hector Olvera-Alvarez with UTEP’s School of Nursing, the research team is making this project part of a bigger program.

“So we could bring nature or different environments for people who don’t have access. For instance people in a hospital who would be sick people that cannot go outside we could bring home environments or natural environments to astronauts,” Dr. Olvera Alvarez said.

Right now, volunteers are being shown 3-D videos of Memorial Park and desert areas.

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