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Science

Virtual Superpowers Translate To Real Life Desire To Help 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the comic-books-make-you-a-better-person dept.
sciencehabit writes "You don't have to be Superman to help those in need, but you might be more willing to do so if you get a taste of his powers. When subjects in a new study strapped on virtual reality helmets, half of them were given the ability to fly around a simulated city, while the others sat passively in helicopters. Some were allowed to merely explore the city from their aerial vantage points; others were told they needed to find a missing diabetic child and deliver his lifesaving insulin. Regardless of which task they performed, the subjects granted the superpower of flight were more likely to help a researcher pick up spilled pens after the experiment was. The results have researchers wondering if our brains might react to the memory of a virtual experience as though it had really happened. If so, we may be able to use virtual reality and gaming to effectively treat psychological disorders such as PTSD."
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Virtual Superpowers Translate To Real Life Desire To Help

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  • VR BS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:20PM (#42764005)

    No need for the VR hardware BS, just ask a DM / GM about how their players behave after leveling up. In fact you need a correction factor for "3 dimensional thinking" vs "2 dimensional thinking". Think how cranky Kahn was in ST:2 and his legendary two-dimensional thinking.

    I think you need to correct the study for happiness, although how you'd do it without bias is a mystery. Its probably easy to half ass it, like most soft sciences.

  • by deathcloset (626704) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:21PM (#42764021) Journal
    For the majority of us, the vast majority of our day involves saying "hi", smiling, putting things in the trashbin, paying for our lunch, holding the door open for someone, thinking about hanging out with friends over the weekend and other stuff which is just plain good. We call it 'neutral', but most of it is good. So when given extra power, we tend to do good things with it...at least at first. When someone wins the lottery or gets a big bonus, they tend to throw a party and buy stuff for themselves AND their friends. Doing nice things makes us feel good. Thinking of harming others is just not pleasant for most of us. Thinking of bad things is not pleasant. I believe we do, however, spend a lot of time thinking about bad things, and so we tend to get this false feeling that everything and everyone else is bad. It's that whole opposite charges attract deal. Because people are so generally good, we have a strange attraction to generally bad things. But generally we're good.
  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday February 01, 2013 @03:54PM (#42764485)
    If you've ever raised a 2-year old, you'd know we're not inherently good, but trained to be good by our parents and other members of society. Kids will lie, cheat, and steal unless corrected, reprimanded, punished, and told how to behave themselves.
  • I need mod points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:01PM (#42764567)

    Thank you for being the first person to state the obvious here.

    Oh, and let me paraphrase the summary:

    We gave one group of subjects strawberry ice cream cones. We gave a second group dry spaghetti noodles.

    Afterward, members of the first group were more willing to do us a favor than members of the second group.

    Therefore, we conclude that there is a link between strawberries and altruistic behavior.

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