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Psychiatric forensic inpatients are frequently victim of aggressive behaviour by fellow patients, as well as perpetrators of aggression. Standard aggression regulation training (TAU) follows a cognitive behavioural therapy approach. Effects in forensic settings are small, because possibilities for controlled exposure to real-life provocation and practising new behaviour are limited. In this study, a Virtual Reality Aggression Prevention Training (VRAPT) is developed. VRAPT offers an interactive three-dimensional virtual 'real-life' world in which social situations and interactions can be experienced and practiced. The patients have to interact with avatars in a virtual world. To make the experience real and increase presence, the avatar has to respond appropriately and fast. This is facilitated by two main components: behaviour recognition and behaviour generation. Multiple modalities are used for the behaviour recognition component, such as audio, kinect and physiological data, to predict negative arousal and aggressive tendencies. Special scenarios are developed and the procedure is guided by a therapist. In a cluster randomized controlled trial, the effect of VRAPT compared to TAU is investigated. The system will be tested with patients of two Dutch forensic clinics, to check the efficiency of the VR treatment. The project is funded by NWO under project number 432-13-802 'Virtual Reality Aggression Prevention Training for reducing victimization in forensic clinics'.

News and progress

  • We are looking for enthusiastic participants for annotation! (Oct, 2015)
  • Data collection done!! This will help us on our behaviour recognition component! (June, 2015)
  • Project officially started! Kick off meeting was a success! (Feb, 2015)


  • Lefter, I., Nefs, H.T., Jonker, C.M., Rothkrantz, L. J. M. (2015). Cross-corpus analysis for acoustic recognition of negative interactions. International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII 2015).


Meet the VRAPT team! We are:

Wim Veling Wim Veling, psychiatrist and head of program for psychotic disorders at UMCG. Professor, line of research: epidemiology of psychosis in social minority groups, Virtual Reality applications in psychosis, early detection of mental health problems in adolescents and young adults.


Catholijn Jonker (1967) is full professor of Interactive Intelligence at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science of the Delft University of Technology. Her research interests are cognitive & affective processes and concepts such as negotiation, teamwork and the dynamics of individual agents and organizations. Although most of her work is about the modelling of mental aspects, she is also very much interested in the embodiment of agents and the interaction between actors (agent, human or otherwise). An example of the last is her work on the Dog Cognition project.

Stefan Bogaerts, psychologist, criminologist and psychotherapist. Full professor of Clinical Forensic Psychology at Tilburg University and director of science and treatment innovation at Fivoor (Kijvelanden, Palier, Aventurijn, FPC Gent). His research line is: diagnostics, psychopathology, risk assessment and treatment of sex offenders and violent offenders.


Iulia Lefter is a postdoctoral researcher in the Interactive Intelligence group of Delft University of Technology. She received her PhD degree from TUDelft on a project involving the Netherlands Defence Academy and TNO, focusing on automatic multimodal surveillance. Her research interests include affective computing, nonverbal behaviour, virtual reality therapy, multimodal fusion and pattern recognition. Within the VRAPT project she focuses on developing algorithms for automatically detecting aggressive tendencies using multiple sensors.

Stéphanie Klein Tuente. PhD student, UMCG.

Guntur Sandino. Founder & CEO at CleVR, expert in interactive Virtual Reality solutions for Serious Gaming.

Niels Ter Heijden . Software engineer at CleVR, VR development and system integration within VRAPT.