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Using Augmented Reality To Treat Cockroach Phobia

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the virtually-fixed dept.

Medicine 126

RichDiesal writes "In this blog post, I describe a new use for augmented reality — treating people for cockroach phobia. A recent paper in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking discusses a system where people suffering from cockroach phobia sit at a desk with a virtual reality headset. The headset has a camera on the front so that patients see the desk they're sitting at — but covered in cockroaches. In the study, researchers managed to elicit a fear response to virtual cockroaches similar to what would be experienced with real cockroaches. Sounds like a little slice of hell to me."

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126 comments

La Cucaroacha (5, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233128)

>())))))...

         

Re:La Cucaroacha (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236832)

Funny thing is, practitioners of neurolinguistic programming(NLP) have been treating and curing(though the FDA, etc. have problems with non-doctors using that word..fuck 'em) phobias in under 5 minutes for close to 30 years. The first person I ever worked with had a phobia of cockroaches and in 5 minutes she was able to function normally; she even petted one of the roaches to prove it wasn't faked.

Re:La Cucaroacha (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32238110)

Let me know when this works with needles.

I have needle phobia that manifests itself mostly with IVs and blood draws. I have to give myself IM injections every week but that doesn't bother me near as much, but the needle phobia makes me put off going to a doctor to the point where I'll cancel appointments.

In other news (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233134)

Virtual reality is virtually real.

On topic though, that image alone is enough to make me slightly uncomfortable.

Re:In other news (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233512)

What I don't get is why they bothered with VR glasses at all! Surely a few tabs of acid would have the same effect...

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234332)

Next up, researcher treats fear of violence by virtually stabbing patients repeatedly.

I think I'll just KEEP MY PHOBIA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32233166)

It's not good to get OK with cockaroaches, or cocks in general!!!

Re:I think I'll just KEEP MY PHOBIA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32233266)

I'm quite fond of my cock.

Re:I think I'll just KEEP MY PHOBIA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32233354)

Please don't tell that to my girlfriend... She's just starting to get comfortable around it.

I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (2, Funny)

jsse (254124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233214)

I've got cockroach phobia when I was young chasing by a huge flying cockroach like you've seen in some cheap horror movies. It actually knocked me off and took me to its nest to feed its kids. (Ok, the nest part might be in my imagination but it was so real).

For all those years I tried to fight the phobia, say fighting them, killing them, catching them bare hand and even change my facebook profile photo to cockroach.

All in vain, I tell you what. The only thing that could help us is to find a place where no cockroach can be seen to live. I'm at peace for many years.

Now you slashdot put a large freaking photo of cockroaches in the news that broke my nerves. I need to transfer to intensive care unit for severe phobia. Thanks a bunch ass-

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233298)

In fairness, considering the relationship between exposure to cockroach droppings and asthma in studies of the children of the urban poor, maybe the fear of cockroaches is well-founded.

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233752)

I lived in an apartment in the back of my comic store in Lemoore, CA for a couple of years. the building was about 80 years old, with walls that were about 2' thick. constant, giant cockroaches. the only thing that would slow them down was LIGHT.... very, very bright lights. no shadows. I had continual blinding light while I slept for 2 years.

it took me almost 10 years, and a move to the other side of the country, before I could sleep with the lights off without thinking about it.

So, yeah. I agree. Cockroaches suck.

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234142)

Cockroaches? Pffftht. I'll give you something to be scared of. Be afraid of the Giant Killer Hornets of Japan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJSgDQYmTp4

7cm long, the biggest in the world.
Endless Stings that can kill you.
Jaws that can bite your fingers off.

Sleep tight you wusses.

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234188)

All insects can be killed with a simple swat of my hand, thank you very much. Wasps used to frighten me, but after living in an area where they were common and would follow you around, the fear disappeared and was replaced by annoyance and anger. I will literally pound wasps into a fine paste if they annoy me too much now. The same goes for any other nuisance insect.

7cm? Pfft. I'd crush the life out of that little fucker.

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235210)

It's not the size. It's the venom.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet [wikipedia.org]

An allergic human stung by the giant hornet may die from an allergic reaction to the venom, but the venom contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin[6] which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient. Each year in Japan, the human death toll caused by Asian giant hornet stings exceeds that of all other venomous and non-venomous wild animals combined, including wild bears and venomous snakes.

A few interesting notes on Vespa mandarinia's venom and stinger:

        * The venom contains at least eight distinct chemicals, some of which damage tissue, some of which cause pain, and at least one which has an odor that attracts more hornets to the victim.
        * The venom contains 5% acetylcholine, a greater concentration than is present in bee or other wasp venoms. Acetylcholine stimulates the pain nerve fibers, intensifying the pain of the sting.
        * Vespa mandarinia uses its large crushing mandibles, rather than its sting, to kill prey.
        * The venom of the Asian giant hornet is not as toxic as some other bees or wasps, and is less toxic than honey-bee venom, but because of the large quantity of venom, this species has one of the greatest toxicities per sting.
        * The enzyme in the venom is so strong that it can dissolve human tissue. On some occasions, the sting may be compared to the effects of a spider bite.[citation needed]
        * Like all hornets, V. mandarinia has a barbless stinger, allowing it to sting repeatedly

On a positive side, you do get a warning from all that buzzing they do.
Also, they are not nocturnal AND like all wasps mostly die off during the winter months.

Roaches on the other hand...

Re:I've so-called Cockroach Phobia (2, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236170)

Roaches on the other hand...

It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It
doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will
not stop, ever, until you are dead.

It does work (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233230)

Well, both flooding and gradual accomodation certainly works to get rid of a phobia (though it will tendency to return in some situations). You have to be really motivated to get rid of your phobia to even consider this kind of treatment, though, and for most sufferers (I'm one of them) their phobia just isn't bothersome or debilitating enough to go through with this.

Re:It does work (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233302)

True. Besides, our sense of disgust has survived in us for a reason. Most things that disgust us prevent us from touching, smelling, eating ... well, you get my drift. As such, a strong survival tool. I would try to preserve that sense of disgust (in a rational way - stay away from a disgusting *anything* but you don't have to go into hysterics and bring the roof down yeah?) unless your job is head cockroach wrangler in a research lab, in which case you're probably in the wrong line of work. But I digress. What were we talking about?

Re:It does work (2, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233584)

Though remember that phobia is pretty much defined as an inappropriately strong aversion to something. It is not rational - when fear is rational it's not a phobia. So a phobia is a disorder; the question is just whether it is debilitating enough (or at all) that it warrants any kind of treatment. And that depends on your own lifestyle as much as on the strength of the phobia. A snake phobia, for instance, is likely no problem if you live and work in a northern city. If you work as a tropical-zone farmer on the other hand, it may well debilitate you.

Re:It does work (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235582)

Further, if a phobia/disorder is not debilitating enough or interfering with your day to day functioning then it technically is not a disorder; it cannot really be diagnosed and coded and treated because it is not interfering with your life. So technically, a phobia is not a disorder until it sufficiently interferes with your life or bothers you enough that you are worried about it. I'm not contradicting your post, I'm agreeing with you; I'm just pointing out that a phobia really is not a disorder until it interferes sufficiently with your life (in thoughts, emotions, or actions).

There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (2, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233570)

I once met a young woman at a late-summer outdoor gathering who twitched every so often. I looked closer, and it seemed that she didn't like bees. I inquired, and indeed, she'd been terrified of flying yellow bugs ever since she and her sister were attacked by a swarm when she was 12 years old.

It'd been 10+ years, she'd been to counseling, etc, but still no relief.

I was an amateur people-fixer then (this was 7 years ago), so I offered to help... After fumbling through a few different strategies, I remembered a certain variety of energy psychology ("acupressure for the emotions"). I walked her through that procedure. The woman felt the bee phobia as a clenching feeling around her heart (when you think about how terrible cockroaches are, where do you feel it in your body? Usually it's somewhere, some people are disconnected from such feelings).

She got rather giggly as the feeling moved out of her left arm. When it had left her body completely, I said "okay, I guess we're done now", and we went our separate ways.

She sought me out 20 or 30 minutes later: "Look, I got stung!" She was excited that her phobic response, which she suffered with for 10+ years, was gone.

Energy Psychology -- Gary Craig's Emotional Freedom Technique is the best-known -- is extremely effective. I've used it with many people since that first woman years ago, and consistently get excellent results. It doesn't fix every problem instantly, but many people find it better than anything else, and research [energypsyc...search.com] is slowly being done.

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32233772)

I'm sure you are and were very well-intentioned, but amateur counseling based on pop psychology is akin to amateur surgery with a shotgun.
You might consider a hobby with less potential danger like hand grenade tennis or blindfolded street racing. ;-)

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234248)

well, it's sorta like that Semmelweis guy [wikipedia.org] , who implored his colleagues to wash their hands between the sick ward and the maternity ward. But the doctors couldn't see/understand how washing their hands could possibly make a difference. So the women dropped like flies, and they avoided the hospital at all costs.

It took over 40 years for Semmelweis' insight to take hold, and countless women died needlessly. Likewise, researchers waste their time using "augmented reality" for phobias, when there are practical solutions available that are essentially free.

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234400)

If Semmelweis didn't have any evidence, his contemporaries did well to ignore him. It's just as easy to make a false claim than to make a true one, and in fact it's more likely given that the claim isn't based on evidence. (If Semmelweis had evidence but didn't present it, that's another problem entirely.)

Popular psychology is founded on ideas that sound appealing to people. This is how books are sold and how pop psychologists make money. When someone has a neat-sounding idea, he or she writes a book and sells it on late night infomercials. When people perform research, they publish papers about it.

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (1)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234540)

Semmelweis did have evidence: his patients didn't die. His contemporaries didn't like his explanation (which was pretty good, for the time), so they ignored him. The page I linked to has a decent explanation of what happened.

Energy psychology is NOT 'pop psychology'. Dr. Phil is pop psychology, who's as worthless as they get. Really - what other book can you buy on Amazon for $.01 [amazon.com] ?

People enroll in clinical trials all the time. Would you have someone live forever with an irrational fear, and let 15 years pass while research catches up with the techniques?

Gary Craig used to give his instruction manual away for free (he retired in January, and I haven't visited the site since).

In his book The Game of Life, Timothy Leary provided the following polemical definition of the Semmelweis reflex: "Mob behavior found among primates and larval hominids on undeveloped planets, in which a discovery of important scientific fact is punished"

HTH, HAND.

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234794)

Semmelweis did have evidence.

Semmelweis had evidence and you didn't, so your comparison is no good.
HAND

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (1)

DEmmons (1538383) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234978)

heck, i could give them actual cockroaches for free (plus shipping and handling)! way more lifelike that augmented reality and since the feeling of a cockroach crawling on you is much worse than just seeing one (trust me, i've woke up with them on my lips), I'm sure they would be more effective. That's assuming their strategy is to scare the poor patients to death, since dead people don't need counseling, unless it's from Bruce Willis. that seems to be what they're going for.

-dan

Re:There are better, quicker ways to phobia relief (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32237838)

I hate their stupid little hooky feet and they smell like garbage. I hear the taste will stay in your mouth all day too if you accidentally bite on one.

I woke up with a giant millipede on my bed once, but those are basically big armored caterpillars so I wasn't too freaked out.

(not that there aren't certain dangerous caterpillars [wikipedia.org] )

Peril Sensitive sunglasses may be a better option (4, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233256)

Wouldn't it be better that as soon as the glasses detect a cockroach they 'augment reality' by becoming completely opaque?

Re:Peril Sensitive sunglasses may be a better opti (1)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233316)

Wouldn't you be more likely to step on the whole bloody mess then? A body swarming with roaches *brrr*. No thank you. I'd rather be able to see so I could run the fark away, albeit in a dignified, lordly manner.

Re:Peril Sensitive sunglasses may be a better opti (2, Informative)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233356)

The idea behind this sort of therapy is to confront your fears in a controlled setting. The simulation induces more and more anxiety until you tell the psychiatrist that you are anxious. It is then toned down until you are relaxed again. These therapies are typically used in conjunction with relaxation techniques in an attempt to empower the patient to relax irrational fears away.

Re:Peril Sensitive sunglasses may be a better opti (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233566)

Anyone whose first reaction to the above post was "that's insightful", you have some reading to do. If you read it and your first thought was "Whoosh", you can keep your geek card. (Insightful can be your second thought, of course).

Anyone in the first group, go read Hitchhiker's Guide please.

I thought we already had LSD (3, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233278)

Do we really need electricity to replace what chemistry already does so well?

Re:I thought we already had LSD (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233466)

Easier to pull the plug on electricity...

Plus, with the googles, --oh-fuck-man-they-are-everywhere and --horrible-lumps-crawling-under-my-skin-cannot-scratch-deep-enough have to be explicitly specified when the program is invoked(unless they are specified in ~/.roaches, which is read at startup. Incidentally, if /etc/skel contains a .roaches file, you should really consider moving to a slightly less seedy hosting provider...).

Re:I thought we already had LSD (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233520)

You're saying, the goggles do something?

Re:I thought we already had LSD (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233782)

Depends on your insurance coverage. If you've got the good stuff, you get the VR Goggles, that indeed do something.

Otherwise, they slap a pair of CVS reading glasses taped to a USB cable on you and have a research assistant dump a box of cockroaches on the desk.

If you have nothing at all, they just send you home, on the theory that you should be able to do plenty of exposure therapy there.

Re:I thought we already had LSD (5, Informative)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233790)

LSD won't give you that kind of hallucination. Tree bark will move up and down a tree, grass will swirl into a sort of whirlpool, and lights will become spectral and dance like a thousand tiny ballerinas, but you won't manifest insects on your desk. Psychedelics tend to meddle with your senses to where you hear parts of what you see, and see part of what you hear. The baseline to "All Tomorrow's Parties" becomes everyone's visible heartbeat. The sunset produces a low, comforting drone that pulses with shadows cast by breezy trees. Sex becomes... well, sex on LSD is how I believe we humans came up with God.

I know your post was a joke, but misinformation about LSD is bad, m'kay. Its an absolutely beautiful drug, and if used responsibly and in good company, it can lead to some truly amazing insights and lasting happiness. I don't mean that if you take LSD you'll become Jimi Hendrix, but in the 8 hours of tripping, you will find out more about yourself than you ever thought possible. Oh, and its literally impossible to overdose, but don't take my word for it. If you must do drugs, do them responsibly!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysergic_acid_diethylamide#Dangers [wikipedia.org]
Don't take any drug without visiting this site: http://www.erowid.org/ [erowid.org]

Re:I thought we already had LSD (3, Interesting)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235620)

You might not be able to overdose (although I'm sure someone can) but LSD does result in "bad trips" for a significant proportion of people. The psychological trauma can last for years. You cannot prevent a bad trip, they can hit people using LSD at random. LSD is not benign, no drugs are (note: "if used responsibly and in good company" - the key is that drugs are almost never used responsibly, at least illicit drugs are usually not; that's not just because they are illegal either, although that does factor in to their abuse. Alcohol is not illegal but it is abused widely; same with tobacco). Responsible use is better than irresponsible use but no use is better than any use (IMO).

Re:I thought we already had LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32236000)

LSD will absolutely give you that kind of hallucination, GP. Parent says no, and says only an 8 hour trip? You must have used some weak LSD, my friend. LSD is a very powerful drug. Don't be fooled.

Based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence gathered throughout my youth, hallucinations of entities (people, animals, bugs, monsters, etc.) happen most often on bad trips. Bad trips happen most often when triggered by a panic situation. The most important thing anyone experimenting with LSD can do is to create a safe situation for yourself and your party. Don't go in public. Don't drive. Plan for anything you will need for the next 12-16 hours. Just stay in a home or in a safe wilderness area. Basically you want to minimize any possibility that a panic situation will occur. Oh, and take a dump BEFORE you trip. Trust me on that one.

I do believe my mind was permanently "opened" (in a great way) after trying LSD. But honestly I wouldn't recommend it to anyone searching for life's answers. It's too powerful to mess around with stupidly.

Re:I thought we already had LSD (2, Informative)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236270)

Too bad you didn't read your own link:

Psychosis
There are some cases of LSD inducing a psychosis in people who appeared to be healthy prior to taking LSD. In most cases, the psychosis-like reaction is of short duration, but in other cases it may be chronic.

and:

HPPD differs from flashbacks in that it is persistent and apparently entirely visual (although mood and anxiety disorders are sometimes diagnosed in the same individuals). A recent review suggests that HPPD (as defined in the DSM-IV) is rare and affects only a distinctly vulnerable subpopulation of users. However, it is possible that the prevalence of HPPD is underestimated because most of the diagnoses are applied to people who are willing to admit to their health care practitioner that they have previously used psychotropics, and presumably many people are reluctant to admit this.

And those side-effects are not dose-dependents and cannot be prevented by being "responsible".
LSD may not be as bad as other drugs, but it is not good.

Re:I thought we already had LSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32237188)

I want to try LSD now.

Not new, not new at all. (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233290)

In my recent psychology class, our 2004 textbook as well as a few VHS tapes discussed the use of augmented reality as a treatment for various phobias. One example is this article from 2005 [ieeecomputersociety.org] .

Re:Not new, not new at all. (1)

Ziekheid (1427027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233314)

You beat me to it, I've seen a documentary on this at discovery at least 5 years ago.

How is this news? (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233340)

Augmented reality has been used to treat phobia for years. I remember reading a SciAm article about the medical application of augmented reality, where a virtual pet tarantula was used to treat arachnophobia, and a virtual snow-covered mountain landscape was set up for children recovering from burns where they and their parents could "play" together in the virtual mountains.

That article was from N years ago where N > 5. Can't remember the exact details but certainly it is not new.

And there was touch feedback in the cases described in that old article, which was lacking in this one. The virtual tarantula wasn't just an image you could see, but also a controlled device that could crawl on your hand and let you feel its hairy legs.

Actually cockroaches are quite tasty. (2, Funny)

hellop2 (1271166) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233404)

Or, land crayfish, as they're known colloquially. Some prefer to squeeze out the poo before you pop em in your mouth. But, true connoisseurs actually suck out the poo... some say, it's the best part.

Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (3, Interesting)

Dunx (23729) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233476)

Some phobias are disabling - agoraphobia, for instance, or a sufficiently developed fear of heights. Some phobias are inconvenient like fear of the number thirteen.

But fear of cockroaches? I call that healthy!

Unless your job requires you to go into cockroach-infested places and not freak out, I can't see any serious downside to cockroach phobia.

Re:Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (2, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233674)

It may depend on the degree of the fear. It can be understandable to be frightened of a cockroach enough to back away a few feet and search for a way to dispose of it. It would be irrational to flee the room and refuse to return without coaxing. It would be unhealthy if you then start hyperventilating and turn it into a traumatic event, complete with keeping you up at nights. It would at least be useful to tame a person's fear to a milder form if their fear takes on such an extreme case. I agree it wouldn't be necessary to try to remove the fear altogether.

Re:Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (1)

adbge (1693228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233824)

Just to go one further: a phobia can often manifest itself as avoidance. Not just of cockroaches, per se, but one might avoid places they believe could contain a cockroach. Depending on severity, it could cripple one's ability to function normally.

Re:Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234082)

Add to this the whole urban myth of cockroaches crawling into your mouth/ears at night with this phobia and it will cause many problems. As for another example of how this can cause issues is small noises might be mistaken as a cockroach moving and the person with the phobia runs risks of jumping at almost any sound.

Re:Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (1)

funkify (749441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236150)

This is NOT a myth! I spent some time in Central America, and I had a friend who was having issues with one of his ears. After some failed attempts at medicating, a doctor took a closer look... and pulled a small cockroach out of his ear canal.

Urban myth!?!? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32238078)

Urban myth my ass. Spend some time in the tropics, some place hot and wet.

You might want to pack an elastic headband (Richard Simmons style). You'll figure out what it's for when you've learned the truth.

Re:Is This A Bad Phobia To Have? (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234152)

Depends on context. Cockroach phobia can be disabling in NYC. And agoraphobia can be healthy in New Jersey.

How about clowns? (3, Interesting)

kolbe (320366) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233534)

My wife has an absolute fear and hatred for clowns, so much so that her Mother once sent her to clown school in order to try to shake the fear. Alas, I marry her and get stuck with the "fear" and cannot go anywhere or anything with our kids that might involve... clowns.

So, I have to ask if this augmented reality system might work for other fears such as this? Perhaps make it so an image of a clown appears on the faces of all that are gazed upon?

I have to wonder if it would cause more stress than cures though.

Re:How about clowns? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233696)

Oh, oh, try it! Post a bunch of pictures of clowns all over in every room in your house, and wait for your wife to see it! She'll love your tender thoughts, I'm sure! And please take a video of her cure process, thanks.

Re:How about clowns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234130)

My wife has an absolute fear and hatred for clowns, so much so that her Mother once sent her to clown school in order to try to shake the fear. Alas, I marry her and get stuck with the "fear" and cannot go anywhere or anything with our kids that might involve... clowns.

So, I have to ask if this augmented reality system might work for other fears such as this? Perhaps make it so an image of a clown appears on the faces of all that are gazed upon?

I have to wonder if it would cause more stress than cures though.

It can work if done slowly. A phobia works by causing your brain to trigger into fight-or-flight response, a base brain function. Phobia's will cause the flight response more then fight though. The problem is because this isn't a part of your higher thoughts you can't address it in a rational manner aka you can't talk yourself out of the reaction or look at it logically. Cures like these work by making you address the phobia in a small 'dose' in a very controlled situation. In this situations with everything controlled you brain still will go into panic/flight mode but with the 'dose' being small you can slightly fight against this reaction and your brain slowly registers that there is no harm in the phobia. As time goes on and you keep going into this situations your mind will stop kicking into panic/flight mode as it has learned there is no danger in the phobia. But this is why it has to be slow, in small 'doses' and in a heavily controlled situation as if the person loses complete control and panics they can cause a problem, hurt themselves by accident or similar and that will only help reinforce the phobia as the brain notices that the phobia is something to be scared of since you were hurt due to whatever the phobia is.

Do it at home! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32238226)

Build a custom Left 4 Dead 2 survival level, an empty room with four doors. When the level starts, angry zombie clowns rush in through all four doors. She gets a katana to fend them off. Now lock her in a dark room and tell her she's not coming out until she gets a good time on the level. Time for some tough love, remember it's for her own good!

my cockroach phobia story (5, Interesting)

oddTodd123 (1806894) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233554)

I got over my cockroach phobia pretty quickly after moving into my new house. They were coming into my house and I traced them back to the hole in the ground where the water meter is. My solution, not wanting to get too close, was to pour poison into hole. Ten minutes later my driveway, garage, and front yard were covered with dozens of stunned cockroaches that had crawled out of their makeshift cave looking for some other dark place to live, which included the firewood pile, every corner and edge of the building, and under my car tires. I had to round them up one by one (using a broom and dustpan!) and get rid of them. I collected them in a bucket, drowned them in more poison, and buried them. Not so afraid of cockroaches any more. But they still gross me out!

Re:my cockroach phobia story (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233840)

When I was 14, a few friends and I decided to slide a storm drain cover open. With a flashlight, most of the surface area was covered in roaches. I swear to God, it was like that scene taken strait out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

Re:my cockroach phobia story (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#32238412)

I swear to God, it was like that scene taken strait out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!

That is exactly how it looks. Like a cheesy but well-done movie effect.

One time I had to open a septic tank that we knew was full of cockroaches. So someone else lifts the lid while I'm dual-wielding large, full cans of bug spray. Now I knew there would be a lot but I didn't understand just how many.

THE HORROR

A FUCKING CARPET OF COCKROACHES pours out of all four sides. I'm doing my best circle-strafing with the bug spray but some are still escaping. They crawl up walls, try to crawl up my leg (which they cling to quite well), everywhere.

Eventually most are twitching their last twitches on the ground and I'm picking off the survivors. It took about 3/4 of both cans in all.

Holy crap that was disgusting. Anyone with a phobia of cockroaches would have fallen dead at the sight.

Re:my cockroach phobia story (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234088)

That's a good approach. Germany tried it on Jews with pretty good results too. Jews, cockroaches, same difference.

Re:my cockroach phobia story (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234284)

When I was kid, about 6 or 7, I attended some sort of school function at night in a big auditorium. They were showing a movie and the projector's light attracted roaches. And I don't mean these little dinky things most people call roaches, I mean the big 2-3 inch long reddish brown ones with hooks like velcro on their legs. One of those landed on my head and got tangled up in my hair. I freaked out, as much about the roach getting in my hair as trying to get it out without squashing it and getting gallons of that white gooky stuff they use for guts all over my head.

Didn't give me any kind of phobia though, more just a story to gross out the girls with.

Re:my cockroach phobia story (2, Funny)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235298)

I hate cockroaches. Hate them, hate them, hate them.

  Once while working a high school construction job in the Florida Keys, I stayed in the unfinished and very *open* hotel being renovated. In the middle of the night Nature started calling so I got up and started walking down the hallway. The hallway was actually completely open to the outdoors, having only wood beams and no actual wall. At the end of the hallway was a finished wall. As I got closer I noticed something strange -- it looked like there was a curtain blowing in the wind (I have very bad eyesight and at night it's even worse). Then I got closer... When I got about five feet away it was too late. It looked like about five hundred billion cockroaches were on the wall. Then they started flying towards me. The fuckers looked like birds. I screamed. Ran 40yds in about 1 second.

So this is a construction site.. And fellow construction workers being such wonderful souls, they had a good laugh when I woke them up.

Of course the next night they decide to put a live cockroack on my face while I slept.

Fuckers.

Re:my cockroach phobia story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32239764)

Pour poison down the hole where your water meter is.... Are you SURE this was the best solution....?

idc if it's entirely relevant, its interesting (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233592)

"I have pressed the first lever", said O'Brien. "You understand the construction of this cage. The mask will fit over your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other lever, the door of the cage will slide up. These starving brutes will shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap through the air? They will leap on to your face and bore straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Sometimes they burrow through the cheeks and devour the tongue."


I have seen some references to 1984 recently on /. comments, and this idea of utilizing an augmented reality such that one could not escape the fear of a cockroaches reminded me of the rat scene from George Orwell's 1984.

Yes there is a difference in this, however, in the fact that people would do this by choice "to be cured". I am just commenting on how the article hit me, nothing more nothing less.

Shoot, if this helps people, awesome. But on another note, how the hell would one augment a "fear of falling" (see article)? To me that is either:
"The ground is there, I can feel it!" --or-- "Shit, I am falling and this is going to hurt!"

Re:idc if it's entirely relevant, its interesting (1)

rolando2424 (1096299) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235038)

"You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." - O'Brien

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32233648)

I have a phobia to Virtual Reality, I am looking forward to this treatment.

So instead of normal cockroaches (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233786)

You will see monster cockroaches crawling around that nobody else can see.

Was this supposed to be a cure for a phobia or a recipe for schizophrenia? :P

Fishopolis anyone? (2, Interesting)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#32233830)

So this is Rivia Fishopolis [clickgamer.com] but for cockroaches.

It's for Windows Mobile cellphones with cameras, and it displays what the camera sees with fish swimming around and crosshairs to shoot the fish. [youtube.com] If you move your phone it continues to show whatever the camera sees, and the fish "move" into the path of the crosshairs.

Shame there isn't a better video of it because the game is top-notch, I've literally spun in circles trying to shoot fish. Glad to see someone's using the idea for medical purposes.

Re:Fishopolis anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32234060)

ha! http://www.thatroachgame.com/ isn’t helping me with shrieking like a little girl whenever i see real roaches!

What about xroach (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234024)

I seem to recall some application back in the SunOS days called xroach, which when run would have roaches hide under your windows. Then when you closed/moved a window/xterm the roaches would scatter and hide under other windows.

Re:What about xroach (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234610)

yes it was a fun program, i wonder whether it still compiles with modern X11 versions. I tried to write a version vor NeXTstep in the late 80s but failed miserably...

Re:What about xroach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32235054)

Still works last time I tried, but the root window it draws on is likely to be hidden beneath whatever window your favourite desktop environment uses for itself. xsnow is also a favourite. You've gotta love a program with a -santa option.

Off, damned Roach Tube! (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234072)

All their work will be undone by ORKIN commercials and six-foot-tall roaches.

It's called Schadenfreude (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234140)

This is just too damn cruel, like desensitizing a child by beating it. Heck just play the latest and greatest FPS instead, then you'd desensitize humans too, double your fun, double your pleasure!

I suffer from this (1)

jprupp (697660) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234218)

I suffer from a particularly strong form of cockroach phobia. I can't even see an American cockroach without freaking out. I can tolerate German cockroaches to some extent, because there used to be plenty in the tropical apartments where I spent most of my childhood, but they still make me feel anxious and very uncomfortable.

I'm so sensible that even touching the screen where the picture of the cockroaches is displayed proved very difficult. The mere fact that I looked at the cockroaches pictured in the screen made me anxious.

I work with computers like most slashdotters, so I can pretty much avoid cockroaches in my life, but I still would like to eradicate the phobia if such thing is possible. I would like to be able to touch a living one voluntarily one day. If this therapy comes to town, I'd take it.

phobia? really? (2, Informative)

strack (1051390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234414)

the hell its a phobia. there horrid skittering insects, usually dirty, maybe poisionous, and getting as far away from them as possible or squashing them is a entirely sane way to deal with them. theres no time to distinguish between cockroaches and other more dangerous types before stomping your foot down.

It won't work (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 3 years ago | (#32234758)

I don't think this will work at.

For starters, they need really tiny VR glasses and I don't think the technology is there yet.

Then they don't really say which fobia they're going to treat at all. Sounds a bit fishy to.

Last but not least, do they really expect that they will be able to find cockroaches that can afford the treatment.

Honestly, I think the whole thing of treating cockroaches for fobia is some kind of scam.

Just a movie can help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32235344)

Not that I'd call it a phobia, but I always found cockroaches to be disgusting.

That was until I saw the movie "Joe's Apartment". Now the gross factor is still there, but the level is way lower.

No surprise there (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235438)

The same empathy that makes us enjoy stories, fear horror movies and cringe when think about pulling fingernails with pliers works with VR. Shocking ;)

Funded by the NYC Landlords' Association? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235440)

I'm not sure I entirely see the point. I'd rather not be fond of cockroaches.

Creepy-crawly (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235534)

So, how do they simulate the sensation of hundreds of cockroaches crawling all over your body?
It sounds like only visuals of cockroaches are being simulated and it's not a big deal. However, having the sensation of a cockroach crawling over your face at 2 A.M. will wake you up faster than espresso.

I have a colony in tub in my house. (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235910)

I have a colony of Blaptica Dubia [wikipedia.org] Roaches in my house right now. They weren't cheap either but then again I purchased them from a reputable dealer The Roach Guy [theroachguy.com] .

Now, I've got about 1200 of these guys ranging from 1/4 inch to full sized adults which are roughly 2 inches in length. I actually have them living in my living room in a 36 gallon rubbermaid bin. They even have special needs such as 95F temperatures for optimal breeding. To accomplish this I bought a human heating pad and a simple thermostat.

Why? I have a baby Bearded Dragon [wikipedia.org] that absolutely _loves_ these things. They are healthier for him to eat than crickets and the roaches actually don't smell much at all and are _easy_ to care for.

However, even with them living with me, I'm still creeped out by them a bit. I don't mind the little ones at all, they can crawl up and down my hand/arm without me caring much. They remind me of those rolly polly pill bugs [wikipedia.org] more than roaches at that size. But the adults are quite heavy for their size and quite agile. The part that really gets me is just how sticky their legs are (hooks really) and they are a pita to get off your hand/arm. So that bit creeps me out.

From time to time I see one of the adults molting and damn are they interesting when they do. They just split their shell and walk out _pure white_ and soft. Silky even. So I try and pick them up at this point just to get over my fear/creeped out-ness.

The thing that confuses me is, why am I creeped out at all? Nothing happened in my childhood or past that I can recall at all. Frankly, I don't think I ever actually got a good look at a roach until I bought some to live with me. Maybe it's all the anti-roach comments in cartoons/movies? Apparently I've been programmed to hate these things. Seems silly.

Long story short, I paid good money for my colony and I hope they start breeding! My little reptile loves them and my wallet will appreciate not paying $5-10 a week on crickets for the next decade! I see the benefit in these insects and I'm working on not fearing them. Maybe other people should get a "pet" roach such as a Madagascar hissing cockroach [wikipedia.org] and get over their fears as well? They are actually very interesting creatures and have their benefits. They really don't need to be feared as a whole. But then again, I think that's why it's called a phobia.

This is what my colony basically looks like (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#32235962)

Hate replying to myself, but I wanted to provide a video/visual. This is basically what I have in my living room, right now!

Not me and not my video, but a good representation of my setup: B.Dubia Setup [youtube.com]

My question is why? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236134)

I am pretty sure I would be afraid of roaches crawling all over me. What I am unsure about is why that is a problem and why I would want to change that?

Help for phobics (1)

Joe Fobes (1736310) | more than 3 years ago | (#32236168)

For all you phobia sufferers.... Phobias are very easy to fix. With no pain and suffering. All it takes is a few minutes actually. I'm a hypnotist, and I work with phobias all the time. They are my easiest clients. Do yourself a favor and find a hypnotist or a NLP person who uses 'the fast phobia cure' (also known as 'the rewind technique' or 'VKd'). You can do it over the phone, on skype, using text chat... Quite a few clients have told me afterwards, 'if only I had know years ago that it was this easy'. Joe www.wikihyp.com
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