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Can virtual reality "become" reality?

Can virtual reality "become" reality?

Immersive virtual reality (VR) can be very realistic, but a new study from Columbia University found that there is a huge difference between people's psychological response in VR and real life.

Researchers hope to use VR's simulation of reality to cause similar thinking and behaviors to reality. And this study shows that the real world is still very different from the virtual reality world, said by Professor Alan Kingstone of Columbia University. This study uses virtual reality technology to study the factors that affect yawning, especially those that are contagious. Infectious yawning is a well-documented phenomenon that exists between people and animals. When someone yawns around us, we also instinctively follow along.

Studies show that social presence hinders contagious yawning. People yawn less when they feel they are being watched, or at least control this desire. This may be due to the public's impression of yawning, which is considered a sign of boredom and rudeness in many cultures.

Columbia University's research team and State University of New York's Andrew Gallup attempt to bring infectious yawns into a virtual reality environment. Researchers asked testers to bring immersive headphones and watch videos of others yawning. Under this condition, the probability of testers being infected is 38%, which is consistent with the typical ratio of 30% to 60% in real life. .

However, when researchers introduced a sense of social presence in the virtual environment, they were surprised to find that the tester's yawning behavior was basically not affected, and even when being watched by a virtual character or a webcam, the tester would yawn as usual. This is an interesting paradox: the factors that trigger infectious yawns in virtual reality are the same as in real life, but there are no factors that inhibit yawning in real life.

Living people in the laboratory can affect infectious yawn more than anything in the VR environment. Even if the tester does not see or hear the existence of others, as long as they know there are others in the room, they can reduce it. The frequency with which testers yawn, and social cues in real life seem to dominate and replace cues in virtual reality.

Virtual reality has become a research tool in psychology and other fields, but this finding suggests that researchers need to consider its limitations. Using VR to study the way people think and behave in real life and may draw completely wrong conclusions, this will have a great impact on those who want to accurately predict future behavior through VR, such as testing pedestrians ,People walking between vehicles, or pilots making decisions in emergency situations, VR environments may not be a good substitute for real-world environments, said Professor Kingstone.

Professor Kingstone also mentioned that if the gap between virtual reality and the real environment can be closed, scientists can study the relationship between brain, behavior and experience between reality and reality changed by the span of time and space. (Stop it, read it a few times ...)

The study was published in Scientific Reports on January 22, 2019.

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