Category Archives: Out of Body Experiences

A virtual reality game that’s good for you and scientist-approved (incl. video)

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“This small indie game could be the Xanax of VR… billed by its creators as a meditative virtual-reality experience.”

“We want to help teach people these breathing techniques so that they can then manage these conditions outside of the game,” says co-creator Owen Harris of Deep VR’s intended stress- and anxiety-reducing goal. “This is a technology that exists within all of our bodies that costs no money… that we have all have access to.”

“Through a partnership with Isabela Granic, a professor of Behavioral Studies at Radboud University in the Netherlands, Deep VR will become more than just a calming escape for VR enthusiasts; it’s now the basis for a psychological study that aims to alleviate anxiety in children.”

By Joseph Volpe at Engadget

Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2016/04/28/a-virtual-reality-game-thats-good-for-you-and-scientist-approve/

Virtual therapy ‘helps with depression’, researchers say (incl. video)

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“A new therapy which involves a patient embodying themselves in a virtual reality avatar of a crying child could help with depression, research has suggested.

Patients wear a headset that projects a life-sized image, firstly of an adult and then of a child.

The project is part of a continuing study at University College London.”

By Dominic Howell at BBC News

Image: University College London

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35558447

Can virtual reality neurofeedback help stroke survivors recover?

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“A better treatment [for motor impairments following stroke] might lie inside a virtual reality headset, according to USC researcher Sook-Lei Liew, who was just awarded a $150,000 Innovative Research Grant from the American Heart Association to explore the possibility of using the immersive world of virtual reality to create a brain-computer interface for the treatment of stroke survivors.

To give stroke survivors the necessary visual feedback, Liew developed REINVENT — “Rehabilitation Environment Using the Integration of Neuromuscular-based Virtual Enhancements for Neural Training” — which uses virtual reality as well as brain and muscle sensors to show hand movement in the virtual world when the patient has used the correct brain and muscle signals even if the patient cannot move his or her hand in the real world.”

By John Hobbs at USC News

Photo/Courtesy of Sook-Lei Liew

Read more: https://news.usc.edu/91323/can-virtual-reality-neurofeedback-help-stroke-survivors-recover/

Virtual Body Swap Experiment Maps Out-of-Body Illusion in the Brain – Potential for Empathy Training and Therapy

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“Research projects like this one show how applications for the virtual experiences provided by headmounted displays may stretch beyond just entertainment to many different fields.

For the purposes of brain research, it allows scientists to more rigorously test how the brain responds to various real or illusory situations.

Beyond pure research, body swap illusions might put us in someone else’s shoes to increase our empathy towards them. Or they might be a useful therapy.”

BY JASON DORRIERON at Singularity Hub

Read more: http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/01/virtual-body-swap-experiment-maps-out-of-body-illusion-in-the-brain/

Research paper by Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm: http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150423/srep09831/full/srep09831.html#affil-auth

Invisibility Cloak Makes Social Anxiety Disappear

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“Is public speaking your biggest fear? Ever wish you could just disappear when you’re forced out in front of a crowd? Now you can.

A team of Swedish scientists has set up a virtual reality experiment that can trick people into feeling as if they were invisible. Then they set them up in front of a skeptical-looking crowd.

When people could see themselves in front of the audience, their heart rates and breathing went up —sure signs of anxiety. They also said they felt anxious. But when they wore the virtual reality headsets and felt invisible, they felt less anxious, Arvid Guterstam and colleagues at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm reported.”

BY MAGGIE FOX at NBC News

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/invisibility-cloak-makes-social-anxiety-disappear-n346996

Research paper by Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm – Illusory ownership of an invisible body reduces autonomic and subjective social anxiety responses: http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150423/srep09831/full/srep09831.html

CAN VIRTUAL BODY SWAPPING HELP FIGHT RACIAL PREJUDICE? (Video)

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“Virtual reality (VR) might help us overcome these implicit biases, according to a paper recently published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Researchers used VR to help people slip into the skin of an avatar and temporarily take on a new identity, cultivating cross-racial empathy along the way.”

“These simple illusions manipulate the way the brain uses information from senses like sight and touch. They show how plastic our brain is,” Manos Tsakiris, a co-author of the paper and professor of psychology at the University of London, told Popular Science.”

By Alissa Zhu at Popular Science

Read more: http://www.popsci.com/what-happens-when-you-put-white-person-black-body-virtual-reality

Researchers using virtual reality therapy to teach self-compassion (video) – Dr Caroline Falconer

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Photo Credit: Mr Aitor Rovira (UCL)

“Researchers say self-compassion can be taught using avatars in an immersive virtual reality, with their trials showing reduced self-criticism and increased self-compassion in participants. The scientists behind the study are now investigating the longevity of the therapy and say it could be applied to treat a range of clinical conditions.”

By Matthew Stock, Thomson Reuters.

Watch video: http://www.reuters.com/video/2015/01/06/virtual-reality-therapy-uses-avatars-to?videoId=360948588

 

The Rubber Hand Illusion (BBC Horizon) – Prof. Lawrence Rosenblum (UC Riverside)

“BBC Horizon explores the strange and wonderful world of illusions – and reveals the tricks they play on our senses and why they fool us.

Professor Lawrence Rosenblum attempts to confuse some innocent passers by using a hammer, a paintbrush and a rubber hand.

He shows how just watching a rubber hand being stroked at the same time as a real hand can muddle something as basic as your sense of your own body.

It’s something that helps to reveal one of the biggest new ideas in neuroscience known as Neuroplasticity. This exciting new idea suggests that the brain can change in response to experience – and this has huge implications for millions around the world.”

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http://youtu.be/Qsmkgi7FgEo

More info:

Prof. Lawrence Rosenblum – Dept. of Psychology, University of California, Riverside – http://www.psych.ucr.edu/faculty/rosenblum/

Body illusions: Rubber hand illusion – Prof. Olaf Blanke (LNCO Lab)

“Neuroscientists at Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland demonstrate how you can trick your brain by stroking a fake rubber hand and your real hand at the same time.

About 10 years ago, psychologists in Pennsylvania discovered an amazing illusion. They found that they could convince people that a rubber hand was their own by putting it on a table in front of them while stroking it in the same way as their real hand.

The now-famous “rubber hand illusion” was not only a mind-blowing party trick, it was also hugely important in understanding how sight, touch and “proprioception” – the sense of body position – combine to create a convincing feeling of body ownership, one of the foundations of self-consciousness.”

More info:

Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience – http://lnco.epfl.ch/

Virtual out-of-body experience – Prof. Olaf Blanke (LNCO Lab)

“A group of neuroscientists at Federal Polytechnic of Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have induced out-of-body experiences for the first time, using virtual reality and an experimental set-up. By deliberately scrambling a person’s visual and tactile senses, it is now possible to give them an “out-of-body” experience.

Two procedures – which are the first to imitate an out-of-body experience artificially – use cameras to fool people into thinking they are standing or sitting somewhere else in a room. They provide the strongest proof yet that people only imagine floating out of their bodies during surgery or near-death experiences.”

By Andy Coghlan for New Scientist

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More info:

New Scientist – http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12531-outofbody-experiences-are-all-in-the-mind.html

Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience – http://lnco.epfl.ch