How can virtual reality time travel help you in the present?
We would all change something in the past if we could, right? Well, it is a topic for an in-depth philosophical and psychological debate.
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Barcelona University partnered with the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya in Isreal to create a virtual experience, one that lets the user experience virtual time travel. It offers the experience of taking the user to a different place and time and seeing it through virtual reality.
In a study published by Frontiersin Psychology, it had a high success rate with users. The volunteers felt as though they had time travelled and re-written the past. The study further explains that this was a sensory illusion that gave the user the feeling of being fully present in a virtual world and that their own body was in fact virtual.
It was so successful because of its immersiveness, that it was clear to see that the device had become a great conduit for creating these feelings of travelling back into the past.
So with an immersive experience as deep as this one you can see that it is possible to forget you’re still in a physical space.
The study wanted to see the effects of “time travel” on the volunteers regardless of the fact that actual time travel is impossible. This was explained in the paper that the researchers had written on the experiment.
Time travel, of course, is not possible in our reality at the present time. However, the experiment saw philosophical and psychological developments that were of interest to the study.
The trolley problem
There is a famous hypothetical moral dilemma called the “trolley problem”. In this scenario you are asked to put yourself in a position of “who should I help?”. You are with one other person travelling between floors in a lift at an art gallery. When you reach the 1st floor the person you are travelling with suddenly opens fire and starts shooting people. Want to learn more about the Trolley Problem in VR, download PDF now.
The question is then put to you, who do you save? In the scenario are five people on the first floor with you and lose the previous one on the lower floor where you have just come from? Quick thinkers may try and stop the elevator in-between floors, trying to save everyone.
The participants in the study were split into two groups, one group had the VR experience of repetition. In this group, you had the “trolley problem” scene but just the same as losing a life in a game without saving, you went right back to the start.
The second group experienced time travel, then went right back to the beginning as the first group but could see what their avatar had just done, experiencing a third-person perspective and did it again for the third time.
One of the main findings that Pizarro explained from the study was those that went into group two and experienced “time travel” didn’t feel as much guilty as the first group.
Using VR to cure PTSD
There is a new study in virtual reality exposure therapy called VRET. People who suffer from PTSD symptoms could use this type of therapy to help control their anxieties and phobias. To explain further this type of therapy is called Exposure Therapy.
This type of therapy is being considered to help with behavioural aspects of PTSD treatment. The therapy is used to help patients deal with thoughts or situations that they find traumatic or frightening. A survivor of rape, for example, may avoid relationships and even leaving out of the house from the fear of being attacked again.
When left to manifest these avoidance behaviours can directly interfere with how the person views their quality of life.
PTSD symptoms can even stick around for long or worsen in nature if left untreated.
To help to lessen the anxiety and straight-up fear a person experiences this type of exposure therapy helps the individual actively confront their fears.
By directly confronting the individuals fears head-on the idea is that they can reduce their anxiety relating to the fear.
For VRET to be successful, the individual needs to experience a situation closest to that of their own fears. However, it may not be possible with all individuals, or peoples with PTSD.
A veteran, for example, will have been exposed to combat and would, therefore, be unable to experience a specific situation head-on for a second time. It would be irresponsible to do this, so a virtual world may be used to aid the individual.
Vietnam War veterans have been primarily examined with VRET for help with PTSD.
Virtual Reality Time Travel Therapy: Outcomes
The study shows that the individuals that took part felt a lessening of PTSD symptoms after being immersed in realistic settings in jungle combat.
With these positive results, the treatment of VRET could be used to help soldiers that had fought in the Afghan and Iraq Wars as well.
This virtual reality is unpleasant but is a useful therapeutic means to dealing with the situation without the same risk to personal safety.
VR and online gambling
Online gambling has jumped on the VR bandwagon and it’s changed everything. Harnessing the power of VR has transformed how we play. Although online platforms have grown in popularity over the years, VR casinos have come along and have been grabbing player’s attention even more; away from things like 2D or 3D games.
Players can enter a truly lifelike scenario. Older technology simply isn’t competing with the experience. Luxury casino settings that are truly immersive. You can even enjoy a drink on the house in them!
The maths bods have crunched their numbers and estimate that VR gambling will peak at a market value of $540 BILLION next year (2021) which is 800x the current 2020 figure.
What’s different about VR casinos?
In a VR casino, you can opt for two kinds of experience. Real money or just-for-fun. The latter lets you play slots, card games and roulette for the entertainment experience and not for cash.
The former, as the name suggests, allows you to win cash monies. The software developers of the technology in use has taken the lead from 2D and 3D casinos in recent years.
VR offers more than a 3D interface. It puts you right there in a casino, in real-time. You can expect:
- Game rooms which you can explore on foot
- Table games where you can pull up your own seat and talk to a live dealer and your opponents
- Actual body language and gestures
VR casinos are far from gimmicky. Light up a cigar (because it’s OK to smoke inside when it’s not real) and tell us you’re not bowled over by the experience.
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