We Are Avatars: Our Online Psyches Are Leaking into Meatspace
2013-05-07 0:00

By Austin Considine | Motherboard


[...] People get involved when they watch sports, almost as though they’re experiencing those things themselves. But what about when we’re observing something we know isn’t “real”—virtual reality, for instance?

Anyone who’s played any kind of video game knows we feel some vicarious involvement when we’re playing. But researchers at the University of Michigan and Penn State have taken that notion a step further, illustrating just how little our brain distinguishes between what we’re experiencing and what’s on the screen.

According to a study released today, our assumptions about what our avatars are “feeling” may actually alter our perception of that virtual world—similar to the way our bodily experiences can affect perception in the real world.

Most of us are familiar with real life examples of how bodily experiences like emotion and physical strain can affect our perception. Legal anecdotes and ample research show that eyewitness testimony is famously unreliable, in part because memory can be distorted by emotion and prejudice.

A study published in 2009 suggested that people view heights as being significantly greater when viewed from above (the riskier view) than from below (the safer view). Likewise, previous studies suggest that the incline of a hill, for example, appears steeper when we’re wearing a heavy backpack than when we aren’t—a phenomenon known as “embodied perception.”

An avatar, as Michigan State University’s Frank Biocca argued in 1997, is “the representational medium for the mind.” Taking a cue from the kinds of virtual reality training undertaken in the military and by athletes, researchers for the new study guessed that the links between what’s going on in these outward representations of our minds would be intimately linked with this phenomenon of embodied perception.

Turns out they were right, but only under certain conditions. For example, a user wearing a backpack in real life was no more likely to view a virtual hill as steeper than someone not wearing one. Users whose randomly-assigned avatars were wearing virtual backpacks, likewise, did not perceive virtual hills as significantly steeper than users whose randomly-assigned avatars weren’t wearing them.

[...]

Read the full article at: motherboard.vice.com



Related Articles
Japanese designer brings Avatar-style robots step closer to reality
PETMAN Ready for Armageddon: Hard to Tell if Man or Machine With New Robot Incarnation
Russian research project offers ’immortality’ to billionaires - by transplanting their brains into robot bodies


Latest News from our Front Page

"Europe Could be Overrun with White South Africans"
2015-05-26 23:05
Edited by Red Ice Dear Madam Merkel: We want our brothers and sisters to come home! Hundreds of thousands of sub-Saharan Africans are pouring into Europe, stressing the economy and social services, causing insane rates of crime and threatening to crush society in its entirety. Arab Moslems also continue to pour in under the guise of "asylum” and are continuing to threaten ...
Increasing Cosmic Rays
2015-05-26 23:35
Driving Force in Climate Changes, Volcanos and Earthquakes Back in 1996 Danish physicists suggested that cosmic rays, energetic particles from space, are important in the formation of clouds. Since then, experiments in Copenhagen and elsewhere have demonstrated that cosmic rays actually help small clusters of molecules to form. By firing a particle beam into a cloud chamber, physicists in Denmark and ...
Swede Has Had Enough
2015-05-26 22:21
Description from YouTube: A Swedish man reached the absolute end of what he can take anymore and tells a few truths to Swedish politicians. The man is the founder of a new political party called Riksdemokraterna. Source: youtube.com
'Is this white enough for you?' Dutch immigrant children rally against segregation
2015-05-26 22:37
Immigrant children and their parents in two Amsterdam neighborhoods took to the streets on Friday asking for families to enroll their "white" children in local schools, which are becoming increasingly segregated. The 100 or so schoolchildren - mostly from Africa and the Middle East - took part in a rally, AFP reported. They were wearing bright wight t-shirts imprinted bearing the ...
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief
2015-05-23 7:58
The BBC has reached a “provisional finding” to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a “soft” interview with the Israeli defense minister. Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montague’s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
More News »