Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interesting research related to sense of self and virtual identities...

In the last few months there has been an ongoing intelligent discussion about virtual identity over on Botgirl's blog.  I was reminded of this discussion today while reading at the NewScientist website about their upcoming cover article titled: The Real Avatar which lead off with this video.

Follow this link to the  New Scientist web write up:


The article is interesting... they were able to show... that men's (apparently only men were used in the study)... heart rates (after a short time as a 10 yr old virtual 'girl' in a controlled virtual environment) increased with a threat response when  the virtual 'mother' in the scene slapped the virtual girl... even if though viewed the scene from an over head 3rd person perspective...

There was also an interesting side comment made about sl
The findings might be applied to entertainment – to make video games more immersive, for example – but also to psychology. People considering a sex change have used the virtual world of Second Life to test what it is like to have a different gender.
In the end they conclude that our sense of self is likely more malleable than commonly thought.  I know for me, one of the more interesting aspects of being in a virtual setting is that we all have the ability to become much more intentional (and experimental) about our malleable selves.

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