What Happens When Virtual Reality Gets Too Real?

Jan 5, 2016  •  Post A Comment

As new virtual-reality devices begin to pick up momentum, the question is being asked: What happens when virtual reality gets too real?

“At the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, researchers since 2003 have been studying the impact of putting people in an alternate reality where just about anything is possible,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Researchers there have put hundreds of test subjects through a diverse battery of virtual experiences, from flying like a superhero to embodying a cow headed for slaughter.”

The lab’s director, Professor Jeremy Bailenson, says: “I’ve basically been studying one central question: Does a VR experience change the way you think and behave? My answer typically is yes.”

The report adds: “Researchers say that while the long-term impact of virtual reality is unknown, the technology could affect users’ outlook and viewpoints more than other once-new technologies — such as televisions, the Internet or mobile phones — because it creates more lifelike experiences and often makes users active, rather than passive, participants.”

We encourage readers to click on the link near the top of this story to read the full report.

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