Use of a virtual reality car-driving Stressor in cardiovascular reactivity research

J. Rick Turner, Frank A. Treiber, Harry Davis, Joseph Rectanwald, Walter Pipkin, William B. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Eighteen subjects (11 males, 7 females) completed a virtual reality car-driving Stressor on two occasions several weeks apart. Immediately before and throughout task performance, blood pressure, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance were assessed. Reactivity scores were calculated for each parameter for each subject as the arithmetic difference between task level and baseline level. The task elicited considerable hemodynamic activation on each occasion of testing, as well as high levels of self-reported task realism, engagement, excitement, and nervousness. Correlation analyses of both absolute and reactivity scores revealed evidence of test-retest reliability. Males were found to exhibit greater absolute levels of and greater increases in systolic blood pressure. The development of tasks suitable for inclusion in a battery of behavioral Stressors, responses to which may help identify those at risk for later disease, is of considerable interest in cardiovascular behavioral medicine. The present findings suggest that the virtual reality car-driving task may be useful in this context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-389
Number of pages4
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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