VR experiments manipulate how people feel about coffee

A new study looks at how images of coffee's origins affect the perception of its premiumness and quality.

Credit: Escobar / Petit / Velasco, Frontiers in Psychology
  • Images can affect how people perceive the quality of a product.
  • In a new study, researchers show using virtual reality that images of farms positively influence the subjects' experience of coffee.
  • The results provide insights on the psychology and power of marketing.
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‘A Glitch in the Matrix’ documentary explores the dark side of simulation theory

What happens when simulation theory becomes more than a fascinating thought experiment?

Credit: A Glitch in the Matrix / Rodney Ascher
  • Simulation theory proposes that our world is likely a simulation created by beings with super-powerful computers.
  • In "A Glitch in the Matrix," filmmaker Rodney Ascher explores the philosophy behind simulation theory, and interviews a handful of people who believe the world is a simulation.
  • "A Glitch in the Matrix" premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is now available to stream online.
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Experiencing opposite-sex body in VR causes gender identity shifts

New research shows that experiencing an opposite-sex body in virtual reality impacted the subject's gender identity.

Credit: Adobe
  • Scientists find that experiencing an opposite-sex body can affect a person's gender identity.
  • A new study utilized virtual reality to get subjects to feel like they had a stranger's body.
  • The researchers found that people's sense of their own gender became more balanced after the experiments.
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Viewing nature in VR or on television boosts wellbeing, study finds

"Interacting" with nature through virtual reality applications had especially strong benefits, according to the study.

Credit: Jag_cz via Adobe Stock
  • Previous studies have shown that spending time in nature can lead to a variety of mental and physical health benefits.
  • The new study involved exposing people to a high-definition nature program through one of three mediums: TV, VR and interactive VR.
  • The results suggest that nature programs may be an easy and effective way to give people a "dose" of nature, which may be especially helpful during pandemic lockdowns.
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Why virtual reality is necessary on a planet of 11 billion

Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.

  • According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
  • As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
  • As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.

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