Psychologists Test Using VR to Diagnose Paedophiles

By Gary Cutlack on at

A team looking into the troubling problem of diagnosing and treating men classed as paedophiles think that using VR might be one way to help, as using pretend VR children to portray scenarios and check responses is certainly vastly superior to presenting sex offenders with actual images of real children.

The thinking comes from a team at the Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, a psychiatric hospital in Canada, where two groups of men -- one with sex crime history and one without -- were exposed to VR simulations of children in various scenarios to measure their responses.

It seems that the VR children did their job on the actual paedophile men, with the technique of penile plethysmography (literally measuring penis girth) being used to monitor responses to the image. They say this worked more reliably at identifying the paedophile group than the current favoured method of using audio clues to get around the problem of using imagery, with the VR system managing a success rate of 54 of 60 when it came to picking out the target men. [Statnews]

Image credit: VR headset from Shutterstock

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