Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This Life, This Other Eden

New grant on immersiveness ANony who thinks immersion is doomed needs to look more closely. our virtual worlds are immersive, we transform them.

And they transform us.

Scientists have previously been unable to study the bystander effect, even under controlled conditions, due to ethical and practical reasons. However, the advanced animated humans and environments created by the NCCA will give scientists a unique opportunity to test the bystander effect in the context of a ‘controlled’ immersive virtual environment.

“We want to dramatically improve the quality of these social virtual environments,” said Professor Zhang, Director of BU’s Computer Animation Research Centre. “We also want to contribute to the growing body of research that uses virtual environments as a laboratory for social psychological research.

“Other studies have already shown that real people tend to respond realistically in virtual social situations,” Professor Zhang continued. “As our real participants take part in the study within the virtual environments we’ll be creating, we will measure their physiological, behavioural, cognitive and emotional responses to that environment. These responses will help us to learn even more about the bystander effect and should provide further insight into many other psychological phenomenon.”

Ironic that this comes up on the feed the same I did a piece on virtual rape roleplay.

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