There’s anecdotal evidence that immersion in virtual/augmented reality alters consciousness. We need scientists to look into this. Some already are. I got a message from a product designer and concept developer named Ali Zareiee who lives in Oslo, Norway, who works closely with the organizations Oslo Science Park and Oslo MedTech. They’re starting to study the neurological effects of VR in Norway. Ali expressed interest in connecting with other researchers doing similar studies around the world.
Ali’s message came in response to a post I wrote about people reporting that VR is changing the way they dream. I tossed this post up on Facebook and got some fascinating replies. Here’s a sampling of what members of the Virtual Reality group had to say about the ways VR/AR has changed their consciousness:
Had someone test our Virtual Reality Therapy Application who had a fear of heights. She said that she had a dream that night of being in an elevator while it fell apart. One thing she did note was even though she was falling there was no fear.
I spent so much time in vr this year. Now when I wake up it takes me a few seconds longer to accept that the world is real.
As I fall in to sleep I get a feeling of disembodiment that I haven’t felt outside of my work in free roam vr. Like when I move in an elevator in work and I get this weird “Is it real?!” That comes from me knowing it isn’t. So when I start drifting off I have that sense of perceived but not actual motion.
I [have been] having dreams of various games that I have been playing as if I was in them due to virtual reality.
I haven’t used my headset in awhile but I can attest to vr making my dreams more vivid. I hardly ever remember my dreams but after I wore my [headset] for a couple of hours my dreams became extremely lucid.
I’d be curious to know who else is studying VR’s effects on the mind, particularly when it comes to dreams. Contact me if you’re involved in this sort of work, and I’ll see if I can help make some connections.
Correction: A previous version of this post mis-identified Mr. Zareiee’s profession. This has been corrected, and I offer my apologies for the mistake to Mr. Zareiee.