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Table 1 Summary of situations presented in the three tasks of the virtual reality-based interactive feedback program, ‘Enhancing Functional Communication’

From: Feasibility of a virtual reality-based interactive feedback program for modifying dysfunctional communication: a preliminary study



1. Exploring the communication style

 Conflict with father

The virtual situation assumed that the participant could not contact his/her parents because the cell phone was turned off while studying for an exam in the library. Therefore, his/her father was angry because he/she was out of reach until late at night. The participant talked with the virtual father at the front gate after he/she got home.

 Conflict with mother

The virtual situation assumed that the participant ignored his/her mother’s request for cleaning up his/her room and the mother was angry due to his/her clear fault. The participant talked with the virtual mother, who had just seen his/her messy room.

 Conflict with a friend who misunderstood

The virtual environment was based on a hypothetical situation, where a virtual close friend, “Jie-Hye”, misunderstood the participant as having talked behind Jie-Hye’s back with another friend even though he/she did not do this. The participant talked with Ji-Hye about the misunderstanding in a café.

 Conflict with a friend who was late for an appointment

The virtual situation assumed that the participant was waiting for a virtual friend, “Jung-Woo”, who was late for an appointment due to a valid reason; and another virtual friend, “Young-Soo”, was angry at Jung-Woo for being late. The participant talked with Jung-Woo, who just arrived at a café.

2. Practicing functional communication

 with a placating style

The virtual situation assumed that the participant discussed the ideas of presentation for school classes with their group as a facilitator. Before the virtual situations, the participant was informed that one of the group members had a placating communication type, named Soo-Jie. Beginning of the simulation, Soo-Jie was seen hesitant to express her opinions, and the other members of the group were clamoring for her opinion. The mission began when another group member asked the participant to encourage Soo-Jie to express her opinion.

 with a blaming style

The virtual situation assumed that a friend with a blaming communication type named Jeong-Woo, who is not very close to the participant, asked another friend to show homework while the participant was doing one’s own homework at school. During the virtual situation, Jeong-Woo did not explain why he couldn’t do his work. After another friend refused his request, he swore and showed a sign of aggression toward the friend. The mission began when Jeong-Woo asked the participant to show the participant’s homework.

 with a computing style

The virtual situation began with listening to a disagreeable experience of a friend with a computing communication type, named So-Jeong. Because So-Jeong had occupied two seats with her cello on a crowded train on the weekend after her cello concert, she had been scolded by a strange older man. There was no legal problem with her standard purchase of tickets. However, the conflict might have grown because she only had focused on the situation without understanding the other’s feelings and did not communicate her circumstances and emotions appropriately. The mission began when So-Jeong asked the participants to share their thoughts about her experience.

 with a distracting style

The virtual situation assumed that the participant had plans to study for a test with a couple of friends, Joon-Young and Jie-Young, but they were late for the appointment. They were fighting ever since they had arrived. Joon-Young, who has a distracting communication type, was late without a good excuse, but only tried to avoid the situation by ignoring Jie-Young’s continued questions. The mission began when Jie-Young asked the participant to persuade Joon-Young to confront the situation appropriately.

3. Expressing empathy


A friend recounts his first experience of being called as an uncle by his nephew.

 Near home

A friend shares the terrifying experience of a suspicious person chasing after her on her way home last night.


A friend recounts the surprising experience when his favorite celebrity was seated next to him at a restaurant the day before.


A friend recounts the sadness she felt in a movie when the loving couple had to break up due to illness.

 My room

A friend recounts the disgusting experience of seeing a small but many-legged bug and getting goose bumps.

 On the road

A friend complains angrily about a man who bumped into him and scolded him on the street the day before.