Virtual reality (VR) simulation tools, in combination with miniaturized sensor and geo-technology, represent an opportunity to prepare high-risk professionals better for uncertain situations. In the current study, we tested whether VR preparation for a police surveillance task leads to increased performance and decreased stress, workload, and a faster recuperation. Police officers (n = 46) were either prepared with a 3D interactive VR simulation of the venue, or received the standard preparation using a 2D paper-based map. Then, officers individually conducted a surveillance scenario during a real live-music concert. Position tracking, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), salivary cortisol levels (SCL) and self-perceived stress were assessed. Results showed that police officers with the VR preparation made less direction changes when finding target locations, had lower HRV during the surveillance, and had lower SCL during their recuperation. These results indicate that VR preparation may increase police officers’ performance and improve their recovery.
- Heart rate variability
- Salivary cortisol