Richard Gilbert is a Professor of Psychology at LMU who founded the P.R.O.S.E. Project, which does Psychological Research on Synthetic Environments. He’s been researching the psychological impacts of virtual worlds like Second Life, and has found that people feel psychological immersed in another environment. There is also a lot of idealism in terms of showing your ideal self, but overall people experience these virtual worlds as being real, albeit an idealized version of reality.

richard-gilbertRichard has studied a number of different aspects of how people are using avatars in virtual worlds including everything from sexuality, friendships, relationships, intimate relationships, marriage, role playing of children, role playing of families, addictive issues, identity issues and constructing a new identity in the virtual world, changing genders, and changing of physical appearance.

He explains that some people play with identity to have a corrective experience from their childhood by playing a child or a parent of a child. Or there’s also people who change genders in order to explore alternative sexualities through relationships with the same sex, but through a heterosexual virtual avatar. He found that 11% of Second Life users are a different gender than their avatar, and that over 90% of that 11% were males.

When it comes to exploring identity in a virtual world, Richard says that everyone wants to be different, but that it can be liberating to be the person that you always wanted to be.

Richard says that immersing students in a learning environment makes them less passive and provides more opportunities to be creative, which ultimately provides a more active and deeply-engaged education where people learn and remember more.

Finally, he sees that the potential of virtual reality being the creation of a metaverse that’s will provide be a parallel context for human culture. Our senses will be engaged at all levels there, and it’s where education, entertainment and all dimensions of reality all be going. In the end, he seems that this alternative world will provide psychology and emotional reactions that will be indistinguishable from reality.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro. Professor of Psychology at LMU. PROSE Project is the Psychological Research on Synthetic Environments. Interested in user’s experience and how it affects them and society.
  • 0:55 – Have studied the following issues in virtual environments: sexuality, friendships, relationships, intimate relationships, marriage, role playing of children, role playing of families, addictive issues, identity issues and constructing a new identity in the virtual world, changing genders, and changing of physical appearance
  • 2:31 – People don’t see virtual world as a game. Large majority feel psychologically immersed in another environment. A lot of idealism in terms of showing your ideal self. People experience as real, but are also in an idealized world as well.
  • 3:39 – Trying to remediate trauma. Studying this issue. Role playing a child and seek new parents to have a corrective experience. The parents could also be trying to do the same thing from a new perspective.
  • 5:20 – Playing with identity. Everyone wants to be different and be the person you always want to be can be liberating. Role players have multiple avatars. Multiple personality Order.
  • 7:00 – Surprises? People happier in their virtual relationships with better communication and more intimacy than in physical context. Only can do in virtual worlds is communicate and can develop intimate connections very quickly
  • 7:45 – Getting audio in second life and getting additional context
  • 8:40 – Modulating their voice with role playing. Some people switching genders to experiment with a gay lifestyle.
  • 9:40 – Audio masking is getting better
  • 10:10 – 11% operate as a different gender in Second Life, and of that 11%, then over 90% of them were males who were switching to a female avatar in Second Life. Rare for a woman to change to male. Females get more gifts, but also experimenting to empathize with woman or experiment with same-sex relationships but through a heteronormative context
  • 11:24 – History of the metaverse. Begin in literary forms. Lord of the Rings inspired people to create technology to create Dungeon and Dragon like experiences. Future of the metaverse. Need a transfer protocol to move through the 3D web with all of your 3D assets and not have walled gardens
  • 13:56 – Sees a Multidimensional Internet. In Second Life, he can pull up 2D content on screens including websites, email and Pandora music. Merger between the 1D Internet, 2D social networking, 3D physical reality & 3D space of Second Life. Motion capture and VR HMDs will
  • 15:41 – Education improved by immersion. Immerse in learning environment, they’re less passive and can be more creative. It’s more active and deeply engaged education. People learn and remember more.
  • 16:40 – Creating a metaverse that’s going to be a parallel context for human culture. Our senses are engaged at all levels there. Where education, entertainment and all dimensions of reality is going, an alternative world that is harder to distinguish between it’s psychology and emotional reactions.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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