There’s nothing virtual about VR experiences

January 12, 2017

Your recent feature about virtual reality in education (“Another dimension”, 5 January) doesn’t quite bring out what might be the most impactful characteristic of VR.

Surely the point is that as far as the unconscious mind is concerned: receiving impressions through some of the same senses as direct experience will, via VR, have very nearly as much mental impact as “the real thing”.

So the opportunity for people, particularly those in their late teens, to experience the effects of especially risky events (and perhaps inspirational ones, too) could have life-changing, and potentially even life-saving, consequences.

For example: allowing people to “experience”, with physical security, the simulated consequences of drink-driving or gang violence would, I believe, have a more visceral and persistent effect than merely watching a much less immersive TV screen or computer monitor.

With suitable precautions, a range of such VR-delivered experiences could fill a life-skill gap as yet unmet.

Paul G. Ellis
Business school tutor and academic copy-editor
London and Chichester

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