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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: A Virtual Reality Body Swap
12 May 2010 5:01 pm
In the virtual world, seeing is no longer just believing—it's being. In a new study, volunteers donned virtual reality goggles that put them in the body of a teenage girl in a virtual living room. The girl's mother stroked her on the shoulder while researchers simultaneously stroked the volunteers. Then, suddenly, the virtual mother slapped the girl—and the volunteers "felt" it. Their heart rates rapidly decelerated, a normal, initial response to a threat, even though there was no slap to their real faces. This is a sign that the subjects had begun to "own" their virtual body, the team reports today in PLoS ONE. The effect was much more powerful if the volunteers had a first-person perspective, looking out of the eyes of the girl, rather than hovering above her in a third-person perspective. As virtual games become more immersive, designers may have to keep health risks in mind.
More on virtual illusions:
See more ScienceShots.