Virtual Is Stil Virtual In The Brain

It appears that our best efforts to provide an immersive virtual reality experience still fall short of fooling even a rat brain that the world it is in is real.

We know this because researchers studied just that, how the neural activity in a rat’s brain experiencing a real world and then a virtual world differed. From the sounds of it they kind of expected that the pattern of activity would be similar but surprise, not even close.

In this article at Science Daily, referring to an article in Nature, UCLA researchers were studying the space mapping neurons in the hippocampus. It turns out when the rat is in the virtual world the way these neurons act more closely corresponds to randomness. And half of them shut-down. Translation: The VR experience is not good enough to fool a rat’s brain or keep it’s attention.

Of course it sounds like they provided a walk around space for the rat to explore. Maybe it there had been something more stimulating, like a predator image, the rat’s brain might have suspended its disbelief long enough to change the results …


About xamble

Most things I do involve computers. Nowadays that sounds stupid to hear because everyone uses computers. Except I was saying that before the IBM PC came on the scene. (hint: my first programs were entered on punch cards in an IBM-29) Now I mostly use them. Mostly to provide a community service in my small town. Because I could when it was asked and still can. And I'm a wannabe writer. Various books in various states of incompleteness. A few short stories. Might do more of that.
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