Floris Klumers, Karin Roelofs and Isabela Granic have recieved an NWO “Human Capital: Professional Games for Professional Skills” grant, in which whey will develop a virtual reality game with biofeedback to train police officers on making desicions under stress. See the abstract of the research project below.
More information can be found on this page http://www.ru.nl/english/news-agenda/news/vm/bsi/2017/games-police-officers-stress/.
Police officers are charged with insuring the safety and security of the populace, an increasingly challenging task with urbanization and decreased societal support. The effects of stress on police officers’ performance and wellbeing recently gained attention with heightened recognition of stress-related symptoms among police and public debate over police officers reacting overly aggressively in stressful situations. Indeed, officers are exposed to high-stress situations regularly and this exposure has a demonstrated impact on their judgements. For example, stress decreases shooting accuracies and decisions by at least 50%. Moreover, given their daily stressful context, officers are at high risk for developing stress-related symptoms that compromise their own safety and society at large. For these reasons, there is a need for maximally realistic skill training within emotional contexts that match officers’ “real world” stress. We propose to develop and evaluate an interactive virtual reality (“VR”) intervention to train officers to respond optimally under stressful situations, when people tend to fall back on primary response tendencies due to impaired cognitive control. We will design an interactive biofeedback-based VR training protocol that builds on our recently acquired psychophysiological and neuroimaging data about optimal decision-making under stress in police officers. A game-based approach is particularly promising for police officers because it will minimize the typical resistance coming from stigma associated with traditional interventions. Combined with biofeedback and VR, our game will optimize engagement, provide real-time individualized biofeedback and feedback on decision making performance to improve a set of selected training scenarios. We aim to make a significant contribution in three domains: (1) improvements in societal safety, (2) reductions in stress-related complaints in police officers and (3) an evidence-based product that through a sustainability model has potential future applications to a wide-range of life-saving professions including other first-responders, military and populations at risk for stress-related disease.