In recent months there have been circulating some strange testimonies about the effects of virtual reality. “Sadness” Tobias van Schneider called it in a post on Medium, but as collects Rebecca Searles there are many testimonies of people it costs back to the real world.
It seems that virtual reality is here to stay, so the question becomes very relevant: is it possible that virtual reality will undermine our ability to experience the world around us?
“A part of my mind could not be sure”
Searles has collected dozens of stories in which the ‘symptoms’ vary from a diffuse feeling of drowsiness to detachment that can last days or even weeks.
There is a very graphic description Lee Vermeulen, a Canadian developer of video games “I realized that the show was over, but it was [as] if a part of my mind could not be sure. The situation caused me a very strange existential fear and the only way With which I could get rid of that feeling was to walk around or touch the things around me.”
This is possible? I mean, is there an underlying real phenomenon or mere suggestion? The truth is that it is difficult to know because there is little research, but as far as we know it is very likely that some people are more susceptible than others to the effects of which we speak.
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What Science Says?
There are less than a dozen studies that directly study the relationship between virtual reality and dissociative experience. The first was held at the University of Montreal between 2006 and 2010. The researchers found precisely that exposure to virtual reality induced dissociation against objective reality.
The sample was small and the fledgling technology so we can not draw conclusions, but the rest of the research that has been made agrees on the (not so) strange relationship between dissociation and VR. Something that allows us to reflect on the matter .
What do we talk about when we talk about dissociation? Fundamentally of two phenomena: the derealization and the depersonalization. Derealization precisely is an altered perception of the outside world is experienced as strange or unreal.
Depersonalization is a similar phenomenon, but in this case, the object experienced as rare and unreal is itself. It is not disease, but “symptoms” associated with psychiatric disorders, consumption of certain drugs or sleep deprivation.
Should we worry?
If we are to be honest, it is nothing strange. There is abundant research that shows that, as in all psychological traits, there are important individual differences. Or, put another way, not all of us have the same facility to experience experiences of dissociation.
So it is likely that the proliferation of stories about dissociation and virtual reality is simply due to the fact that it is an expanding technology and is reaching more and more people (making it more likely that we will meet people with a greater tendency to The dissociation). Moreover, (and unless there is underlying disorders) there is no reason to worry, but perhaps to admit that it is not a technology for everyone.Tags: virtual reality