Gamers who play violent 3D living room gaming report higher levels of anger than gamers who only play 2D systems, regardless of screen size. The study found a strong correlation between levels of anger (as guaged by participants) and gamers’ perception of how immersed they were in the game. While the results may seem somewhat intuitive, there are at least a few reasons why this study is interesting from an author’s perspective – apart from the obvious purpose of the study (to determine if 3D gaming environments increases aggression in gamers): (1) in the future, immersive 3D gaming could be used to effectively test military troop mental stability; (2) in the future, immersive 3D gaming could be a strong source of entertainment to escape reality – much like memory alteration without invasive brain changes; and (3) scenes involving artificial interfaces ought to keep this in mind: the brain is not perfectly able to distinguish virtual reality from real reality (whew – no egg on my face – I already addressed this in Moon 514). In short, the mind will maintain vestiges of the alternate, artificial reality regardless of whether or not the person involved is consciously aware of their actual environment. You’ve experienced this when leaving a movie theater: you are happy, sad, upset, or excited when you watch a particularly engaging movie. The difference is only one of degree: scientists are keenly aware that the more “real” your experience, the more real your emotional reaction to the entertainment. Only time will tell whether or not an intensive 3D experience will be as fulfilling as the real thing.
Apart from entertainment value, what are productive uses of this technology? I think interactive weapons training could be pushed up a notch. Driver’s ed training? What else?