ISVR 2021 Online Seminar Series on Virtual Rehabilitation

International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation

Illusions of presence: Implications for neurorehabilitation

The International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation is pleased to invite you to an online seminar on virtual rehabilitation. The purpose of this online seminar is to provide an interactive forum for ISVR membership and other interested individuals to discuss topics of interest to the virtual rehabilitation community.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021 4:00-6:00 PM UK/Portugal





Introduction | 10 min
Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa, Israel


Virtual Reality in Clinical Psychology | 30 min
Prof. Mel Slater, University of Barcelona
In virtual reality you can look around wherever you like, and still of course see virtual reality. This typically leads to illusions of presence and body ownership. Almost 30 years ago it was realised that VR can provide an interesting tool for clinical psychology, and over these last three decades there has been considerable research in this area. In this talk I will review some of this previous work which has mainly focused on anxiety disorders. I will move on from this to consider illusions of body representation. In VR if it has been so programmed you will see a life-sized virtual body replacing your own when you look down towards yourself or into a virtual mirror. You are likely then to have the perceptual illusion that the virtual body is yours, even though you know for sure that it is not. This is referred to as a body ownership illusion. Here I will describe this illusion, and give examples of how this has been used in the context of clinical psychology.


Virtual Embodiment in Virtual Environments for Pain Management | 30 min
Prof. Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, Institute of Biomedical Investigations August Pi i Sunyer, Barcelona, Spain
A significant body of experimental evidence has demonstrated that it is possible to induce the illusion of ownership of a fake limb or even an entire fake body using multisensory correlations. Recently, immersive virtual reality has allowed users to experience the same sensations of ownership over a virtual body inside an immersive virtual environment, which in turn allows virtual reality users to have the feeling of being “embodied” in a virtual body. Using such virtual embodiment to manipulate body perception is starting to be extensively investigated and may have clinical implications for conditions that involve altered body image such as chronic pain. I will review experimental and clinical studies that have explored the manipulation of an embodied virtual body in immersive virtual reality for both experimental and clinical pain relief. We discuss the current state of the art, as well as the challenges faced by, and ideas for, future research. Finally, I will discuss the potentialities of using an embodied virtual body in immersive virtual reality in the field of neurorehabilitation, specifically in the field of pain.


General discussion | 40 min
Tamar Weiss, University of Haifa, Israel



Targeted audience: Researchers, research trainees and clinicians interested in virtual rehabilitation. You do not need to be a member of ISVR in order to participate in this event although the ISVR encourages you to join for the low cost of $50 for 2 years (students pay $25 for 2 years):


How to attend: Registration is required by Monday, February 22, 2021. Click here to register.
Instructions on how to join the online workshop will be communicated to registered participants at least one day prior to the event.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 836707. EIT Health is supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union.