Some people have not yet realised what a powerful weapon a virtual reality viewer can be in influencing the brain.
Virtual reality glasses directly affect the brain by tricking the senses into perceiving a virtual world as real. This is achieved through a combination of 3D images, surround sound and motion tracking.
3D images are generated by two screens projecting slightly different images to each eye. This creates the illusion of depth and perspective that the brain needs to perceive a real world.
Surround sound surrounds the user with sound, helping to create a sense of immersion.
Motion tracking tracks the position and movement of the user’s head and body. This allows the virtual world to move with the user, adding to the sense of realism.
When the brain perceives this virtual world as real, it activates the same neural circuits that are activated when experiencing the real world.
This can lead to a number of psychological effects, such as:
Feeling of immersion: The user feels as if they are actually present in the virtual world.
Sense of presence: The user feels as if he/she is the one experiencing the virtual world.
Sense of emotion: The user experiences emotions similar to those they would experience in the real world.
These effects can be positive or negative, depending on the content of the virtual world. For example, a virtual reality game that is exciting or frightening may provoke an intense emotional response.
In addition to these psychological effects, VR goggles can also have a physical impact on the brain. For example, prolonged use of VR goggles can cause eyestrain, headaches and dizziness.
But heck, these aforementioned effects are the “typical” ones that everyone can read about in press articles or content creators. I always like to bring something more.
This is because virtual reality requires the brain to concentrate on a single task, which can overload this region of the brain. People wearing VR goggles may have more difficulty concentrating on real-world tasks, or may be more likely to make impulsive decisions. And that impulsive decision-making thing…
💥 HITS ME HARD 💥
If the glasses are able to influence impulsive decision-making, could they be an effective weapon for brainwashing individuals or groups to commit extreme criminal acts? It is well known that terrorist groups use techniques of indoctrination and control through coercive persuasion. What if we applied this to government control of an entire city?
But don’t call me crazy, these are not conspiracies, and as I always like to reach out to my readers, I’m going to recommend some of these studies that interpret what I’m talking about:
“The effect of virtual reality on prefrontal cortex activity: An fMRI study” (Nature Neuroscience, 2016)
“The effects of virtual reality on cognitive control: An fMRI study” (PLOS ONE, 2017)
“The effects of virtual reality on brain connectivity: An fMRI study” (Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 2018)
“The impact of virtual reality on attention: An fMRI study” (Scientific Reports, 2020)
(If you can’t find any of the studies, you can ask me in the comments)
So we can see that the health sector, doctors, neurosurgeons, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other related professions will also have to evolve to face this new reality that we will soon have to face.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE GOVERNMENT SEES IT AS A WEAPON?
Depending on where you are reading me from, this is more or less likely, but not unreasonable. It will be due to the eccentricities of governments.
We know that we are increasingly controlled by A.I., video surveillance, identity checks and biometrics…. Well, here may be a new idea.
What would happen if a government encouraged the unlimited purchase of goods and services through simulated virtual platforms? It could lead to an increase in over-consumption and debt. Something similar seems to have happened in the brick era, when housing was “given away for free”, and then came what came. Debt, crisis, evictions….
A government, cult or terrorist group could use virtual reality to create a virtual environment in which people can engage in violent or aggressive activities. This could lead to an increase in violence and crime. Imagine if, under the influence of some video games, this increase in violence among children and teenagers could lead to massacres in schools and universities.
HOW VISORS AFFECT CHILDREN
Children are new territory. In every way. They are still learning, individually and collectively. Growth, development of physical and cognitive skills. And this is where scopes can play a fundamental role, for better or for worse.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF VR ON CHILDREN
Learning: Creating immersive learning environments that can be very attractive to children, helping them to learn more effectively and enjoyably.
Social development: They can be used for children to interact with other children from all over the world, extending social skills to other cultures.
Relaxation: We can create relaxing environments that can help children reduce stress and anxiety in crisis situations.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF VR ON CHILDREN
Here I give you a new task and that is to take a look at these studies:
“Pediatrics in 2022 found that children who used VR headsets for more than 2 hours a day had an increased risk of developing eyestrain, headaches and dizziness”
“Child Development in 2021 found that children who used VR headsets with violent content could develop much more aggressive behaviour”
“Frontiers in Psychology in 2020 charged that VR headsets could negatively influence the empathy developed by children”
And what do parents think of all these children?
Well, one of the largest surveys of 3,613 parents on their attitudes towards virtual reality on these issues came to the following conclusions:
While the long-term effects of VR on children’s health and brain development are unclear, 60 percent of parents are at least somewhat concerned about negative health effects.
Many parents believe VR has educational promise. 62% of parents believe that VR will provide educational experiences for their children.
However, only 22 percent reported that their child used VR to learn. An overwhelming 76 percent of children who have used VR played games.
Virtual reality has the potential to be an effective tool for fostering empathy among children, but most parents are sceptical. 62% of parents do not expect children to empathise with others while using VR.
Overall, the findings have shown that virtual reality can have an outsized influence on children.
Jeremy Bailenson, a professor of communication at Stanford and co-author of the report who founded Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab in 2003, said: “VR is arguably the most powerful medium in history and research on its effect on children is only just emerging. VR is arguably the most powerful medium in history and research on its effect on children is only just emerging,” he said.
In a 2009 study, Bailenson found that when elementary school children saw themselves swimming with orca whales in a virtual environment, many believed the fantastic experience happened in real life. This research was conducted with Kathryn Segovia, then a PhD student working in the lab (she now directs learning and design at Stanford’s d. school).
From that research is a 2017 study Bailenson conducted with Jakki Bailey in which he found that media characters in virtual reality can be more influential on young children than characters on television or computers .
Bailenson recommends that people take precautions. In the survey, 11 per cent of parents reported that their 8-17 year olds experienced dizziness, 10 per cent experienced headaches and 13 per cent bumped into an object.
He advises that virtual reality should be supervised closely and in moderation: 5-10 minute increments are recommended for young children and 20 minutes for older children and young adults.
It is a constant controversy how new technologies are used with regard to the youngest members of the household. Currently there is subliminal advertising in video games to influence them in their future purchases, but I will talk about this in one of my next articles. I won’t leave without giving you a little hint:
See you next time!