Virtual reality in therapy: If a violent man sees himself in a woman's body


6 min read

Virtual reality in therapy: If a violent man sees himself in a woman's body


Virtual reality technology tests show that our presence of someone else's body will promote empathetic behavior and help with body image issues. • Professor Maria (Mavi) Sánchez Vios, director of one of Spain 's leading virtual reality research laboratories, is already treating men with girl abuse. Their husband and children




"How confused they have lost their ability to have a name," Ivri Lider, in his 2002 song "Cafes," named Internet users. Users were stripped of their bodies and identities on the Internet of yesteryear, when there were still no pictures, so they could send words to the virtual space without We will know who they are, where they live, what their ancestry is or what their parents are doing, whether they are beautiful or skinned, rich or poor, men , women or whatever in between.




The liberty only lasted for a decade. Even before Facebook came into being, people started uploading photos and identifying themselves in the networking sites which created long-term relationships with their official names. Facebook , Instagram, Wattsap and even a visual social network like Twitter people almost always connect identities of their peers in the "real " world with their identities. Social networks have, paradoxically, reduced our space for identity. While we could follow a slightly different identity at each session in the past , today we are projecting a single identity across all channels and we need to align it with the identity we present in the real world at each session.






Typically speaking, we may say we've given up the concept of an alternate identity, but now virtual reality technology advancement is likely to bring the challenge back to the center stage, including for psychological treatment.




Prof. Maria (Mavi) Sanchez Vios, director of the IDIBAPS Research Institute's Virtual Reality Laboratory in Spain, started using this technology as a brain research tool 15 years ago. Her research is regarded by virtual reality as one of the world's leading laboratories for researching psychology and the brain today. On Thursday, April 11, she will lecture on her research at the Advanced Reality Research Laboratory and Sami Ofer School of Communication's "Virtual Reality: The Body, Self and The Other" conference at IDC Herzliya.




"We quickly realized that it's not so hard to create an illusion that the body we see in virtual reality is ours," Sanchez and Yus said in an interview with "Globes." "You 'd think it would be more difficult-we've become accustomed to living in a certain body that usually undergoes small and slow changes for many years.




What is the manipulation?




"Through several channels, humans develop a perception of their bodies. First of all, they see from the eyes that are inside this body, and so we put on the virtual reality glasses in the laboratory so that the perspective will be as if we were seeing the virtual world out of our eyes. Or in virtual appearance, we'll see the body of the avatar where we'd expect to see our body.




"The idea of merging is important on top of that. Which is, if you see someone touching your hand in the virtual world, you'll know it actually hitting your hand, too.




"We've built glove and shirt systems that can vibrate or apply pressure in tandem with what's happening on the screen so the sensation of contact is genuine."




Sanchez Vios explains that our brains are constantly seeking coherence and actively constructing a story from the information that comes into it. The need for coherence overcomes the logical understanding that this isn't really about our bodies, and thus very fascinating illusions can be formed.






"You can make a person feel that their nose is longer or shorter. You can make a person feel that their hand is very long. If we create a stimulus that matches what you see on the screen, you can give people the feeling that one hand is longer than the other, even up to four times longer, despite the lack of logic." "Nevertheless, at some point the illusion disappears. If we see in the virtual reality that our hand is more than four times the actual hand, we do not perceive it as our hand, even though we can monitor it and obtain the correct sensory stimulus."




Physical experience calls forth empathy


Experiments examining the psychological effects of body replacement began to be published as early as the late 1990's. One fascinating experiment is exploring what the world looks like from the viewpoint of a child, that is, the image is shot in such a way that the eye line is positioned lower and the objects appear higher in the distance. Looking down on the body, or in a virtual mirror, it will expose a circular, child-shaped body. So is the shoes.




Experimental participants, who were asked to measure object size, automatically measured distances and heights as being higher and distant. Sanchez Vios says, "The way you view yourself influences how you perceive the world." However, in addition to the new viewpoint, the adults in the simulated body of a child appeared to identify more with their characteristics that were considered infantile. These phenomena were less effective when the virtual body was of "shrinking person" and not of a infant.


Can the illusion of the child's body help adults recapture memories of childhood, the experience of child wonder, or innocence and curiosity? Not all of these have been investigated yet but it is not denied by researchers. The possibility that the experience will increase empathy among teachers and parents of children under their care is not negated either. Today it's still unclear how long its effect will continue after the end of the illusion.




"There are other examples of how behavior impacts your own virtual body experience," says Professor Doron Friedman, head of the Interdisciplinary Advanced Reality Laboratory. "A recent study found that the computability of people who experienced themselves in the body of Albert Einstein improved.




"I particularly like the analysis where the participants were asked to drum. Half of the participants perceived themselves as being a professionally dressed white person and half viewed themselves with dreads and casual wear in a black person's body. In the second, informal party, more moved subjects.




Such work teaches us quite a bit, not just how to expand our experiences in this world through virtual reality, but also possibly how our real bodies influence our everyday lives, even before entering any virtual picture.




The Sexual Assault technology solution?


In a study of the violence of men, Sanchez and Joses connected men to the virtual body of a woman. "One in four women experiences violence during their lives from their spouse. It's happening everywhere, not just in those countries or cultures, "she says.




Friedman, who was eager to experiment with this process (albeit not, of course, as a treatment), says of the experience: "I looked down and immediately I saw a cleavage. "A man bigger than me. Threateningly approaching, he takes my mobile phone and throws it down to the floor."




True cell phone?




Sanchez Vios: "Forbid you god!"




You might tell the men did not really have a violent encounter in your investigation. You probably didn't really hit them. It just doesn't hurt.




Sanchez and Jos: "Of course we didn't hurt them, but the situation was probably scary and intimidating enough to generate some empathy. Before going through the process, the violent men in the experiment (but not the control group) failed to detect a facial expression of fear in the images of women we presented to them. "Many of the frightened faces were identified as happy. It became much easier to identify fear in photos of women after the cycle was over.




The study was published about a year ago and has already been integrated into the treatment of violent men in Catalonia, Spain. “Not all patients respond to rational, formal and explicit learning. "In addition to the scenario that presents a woman's point of view, a scenario that presents a child's point of view was also developed because some patients were violent towards their children."




Friedman says that interdisciplinary students are currently designing such a program to expose people to the sexual harassment experience from the harassed 's viewpoint, "but this is not a research project, it is an activist."


Is it possible to pass on the experience of sexual harassment to a person who does not carry all the emotional baggage of gender and without passing it on to an actual unwanted sexual contact? If the activist move is turned into research, we may be able to get answers to these questions.






Psychologists and artists in experimental field


In Israel, some scholars have used this approach to try to arouse empathy between Israelis and Palestinians. In a video showing a situation where a soldier points a gun at a child, the subjects were asked to stand in the soldier's position as well as the child's place. "Even the most patriotic Israelis spoke less emphatically after having an experience with a rifle aimed at them," says Friedman. For logistical reasons, Palestinians did not participate in the experiment and the question of whether they were able to identify with the soldier was examined.




Art work using virtual reality technology sent Israelis and Palestinians to a virtual tour of each other's homes rather than to the heart of the conflict.



The artist, Daniel Landau, described the experience as "seemingly non-threatening, but having a tragic underground flow" in the British Guardian newspaper because Israelis and Palestinians were so surprised to discover similarities in life on both sides of the fence and on other points Differences that show a dramatic quality of life gap between people living just a few miles apart.






Today, Landau is the "home maker" at the Interdisciplinary Center in Friedman's virtual reality lab, enriching the study scripts with information and ideas.








Sanchez and Joses say there was an increase in empathy and a decline in racism in studies that examined black and white subjects after staying inside a virtual body of the other race for some time. "It only occurs when you imagine yourself inside a black (or white) body, not purple, which means empathy is heightened when you really encounter yourself in the other shoes, and not if you feel a sense of difference," she stresses.








In the last few years, field work has advanced tremendously, with virtual reality helmets becoming more available, Friedman and Sanchez Vios claim. Today these helmets can be bought at the price of a game console from commercial companies. The technology has also enhanced itself, and is now more practical. This allows not only researchers to experiment with the idea of a virtual body in leading labs, but also any psychology student, artist, and other curious students.








"Because of the excitement for the potential therapeutic aspect of this technology , virtual reality that integrates the illusion of another body will enter the market first through psychology and the care world, and only then can it hit customers," says Friedman. A startup has been developed around Sanchez and iOS labs that develops a product called Vespect me designed to increase the world's empathy through VR.








Virtual reality technology is at the forefront of research into other treatment fields not linked to communication with each other. This can help boost body image, for example. In a research carried out in 1998, people with dysphoria were asked to perceive their bodies as different


The artist, Daniel Landau, described the experience as "seemingly non-threatening, but having a tragic underground flow" in the British Guardian newspaper because Israelis and Palestinians were so surprised to discover similarities in life on both sides of the fence and on other points Differences that show a dramatic quality of life gap between people living just a few miles apart.








Today, Landau is the "home maker" at the Interdisciplinary Center in Friedman's virtual reality lab, enriching the study scripts with information and ideas.








Sanchez and Joses say there was an increase in empathy and a decline in racism in studies that examined black and white subjects after staying inside a virtual body of the other race for some time. "It only occurs when you imagine yourself inside a black (or white) body, not purple, which means empathy is heightened when you really encounter yourself in the other shoes, and not if you feel a sense of difference," she stresses.








In the last few years, field work has advanced tremendously, with virtual reality helmets becoming more available, Friedman and Sanchez Vios claim. Today these helmets can be bought at the price of a game console from commercial companies. The technology has also enhanced itself, and is now more practical. This allows not only researchers to experiment with the idea of a virtual body in leading labs, but also any psychology student, artist, and other curious students.








"Because of the excitement for the potential therapeutic aspect of this technology , virtual reality that integrates the illusion of another body will enter the market first through psychology and the care world, and only then can it hit customers," says Friedman. A startup has been developed around Sanchez and iOS labs that develops a product called Vespect me designed to increase the world's empathy through VR.








Virtual reality technology is at the forefront of research into other treatment fields not linked to communication with each other. This can help boost body image, for example. In a research carried out in 1998, people with dysphoria were asked to perceive their bodies as different




A chance to rid yourself of problem behaviors


Behavior counseling is another form of therapy. For example , people suffering from audience anxiety can be educated by putting them in rehearsals before a simulated audience.




People can be freed and educated into a virtual environment before they get rid of habits that researchers perceive as harmful. The alternative action would slowly become a habit.




In the same way, it can generate motivation. For example , a person recovering from an illness and walking training will get the feeling that he is running in a healthy body in the open air and will not struggle every step of a closed clinic on a treadmill. These are all avenues which are actually at the forefront of science.






Meanwhile, the gaming landscape is taken over by virtual reality, so there could be a less optimistic impact too.


The script may either stereotype into the game or reward negative behaviour. In addition, all of the therapeutic benefits of body reconstruction in virtual reality may become drawbacks if integrated into the wrong goods for commercial purposes.




There's no question in gaming or therapy that the next development stage will allow one to go out into the big world inside his new body and encounter other avatars, so that the effects of others can be applied to his new body. There's a wide range of possibilities and the research is real in its infancy.