One that can mess with the brains of the human has to be the virtual reality. Now neuroscientists have taken this to another level wherein they are using this technology to scramble with the human brain and create an illusion of self.
According to the new study conducted using the virtual reality technology, simple tricks like using a paintbrush can also confuse the brain and make it think that the body of the person has become invisible.
The study that has been published on the Scientific Reports talks about some of the old tricks of neuroscience like the rubber hand illusion.
In a case like this, the brain will unconsciously start taking complete ownership from other hand. For an event, if you can see that your hand is about to get hit by a hammer or any other weapon, than you will react immediately by winching the hand.
For example if you can see the rubber hand that is being stroked and as times goes by, you will start feeling that your own hand is being stroked in the similar manner.
In the world of virtual reality, this rubber illusion can be carried out in much more sophisticated method. To do same the team of researchers have given the presentation at Karolinska Institute in Sweden kept around 125 volunteers in virtual reality.
Inside this VR all these volunteers when tried to look down at their bodies were able to see nothing at all. Then all these volunteers were poked in their chests by using a paintbrush and the same method was carried out even in the empty space that was representing their invisible bodies in the virtual reality.
The combination of these methods being carried out on the actual body and the empty space itself was enough to confuse the brain and start an illusion.
What else happened? When the researchers replaced the virtual paintbrush with a virtual knife, the only reaction received from everyone was fear even though all of them were giving an unconscious reaction.
Although bodies of the participants were invisible but the threat we are talking about was real. All the volunteers showed an increased heart rate as well as sweaty palms and bodies.
In another experiment, the volunteers saw that a group of people are concentrating and glaring at them, a normal reaction in this situation will be stressful. However, as the participants believed that their bodies are invisible they did not felt any anxiety or stress.
With the constant improvisation in the VR, many psychologists have been constantly trying to use the same to understand more about human brain and learn about the process of the brain perceiving the reality.
Despite the fact that the human unconscious brain can be easily fooled, it also highlighted that the virtual reality can be used strategically in more productive methods.
For instance the preceding study conducted highlights that virtual reality can be used for treating people who are suffering from anxiety disorder. Future of therapy might rely on a single dose of virtual reality.