The VIBES project aims at testing whether using impossible or unlikely virtual social situations for training can increase training success and concurrently, identifying psychological and physiological characteristics (from personality to stress related bio-markers) linked to VR training.

To navigate successfully through our social interactions and obtain the outcomes we aim for, we need interpersonal skills such as being able to convincingly communicate (e.g., persuasion) and understanding our social interaction partners and their views (e.g., empathy). Thus, developing one’s interpersonal skills represents a crucial matter. New technologies, such as Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR), offer new approaches to develop those interpersonal skills. For instance, interacting with virtual humans could help overcome anxiety and stress in social interactions.
The VIBES VIrtual reality and Biomarkers’ Effects on Skills training – project aims at testing the effect of IVR training on interpersonal skills development. It revolves around two axes: extraordinary environments and trainees’ characteristics. The first one focuses on the added value of IVR in creating extraordinary environments and unlikely scenarios. This allows to push further training approaches by manipulating and controlling environmental and social aspects of the training procedure. Consequently, our first goal is to test whether using impossible or unlikely virtual reality social situations for training can increase training success in interpersonal skills’ acquisition. The second axis focuses on determining trainees’ individual characteristics, from personality to stress-related biomarkers, which influence the VR training and skill acquisition. Consequently, our second goal is to identify individuals’ psychological and physiological characteristics at the source of specific stress-profiles. Identifying stress-profiles in relation to trait and social anxiety during training will lead to the development of personalized interpersonal skills training via neuro-bio-feedback.