Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When men were ... err... men

Damn. I could have used that sort of money – a cool €8.8 million. That’s the amount European researchers have received for doing an experiment which has be running, albeit haphazardly, for years in SL. The aim of the research: to place males in the bodies of female avatars and find out what they experience.

Professor Melvyn Slater and his team conducted an experiment in which 24 male volunteers were given female avatars who were then placed in a virtual environment. One group had a sort of mouse view virtual reality, while the others experienced their feminine side slightly offset, over the shoulder.

The press release state: “Unsurprisingly, the 'body swapping' effect was more pronounced with the former. In some cases, the experience was so effective that the volunteers gasped and flinched when they appeared to be threatened; the researchers reported a drop in heart rate, a typical reaction to a perceived attack.” I’ve not read enough of the report to say if “extremely fondling of body parts” was higher in one group or the other.

The researchers believe that the tests show “that if you make people believe their bodies are different, it has an impact on the way they think and behave. This means, for instance, that with the technology we can experience what it is like to be a member of the opposite sex or someone with acute physical differences, such as an obese person.” O for one, have had the same experience – and would be happy to reveal what it feels like to be a dragon escort.
For €8.8 million, I’d even do it again.