Virtual Reality Puts Men in Women’s Bodies

Are virtual sex changes on the horizon? It’s doubtful, but scientists have seemingly taken their first step towards such a thing recently when they used virtual reality to study how visually attached we are to our bodies and specifically our gender.

Researchers at the University of Barcelona in Spain placed 24 men in a virtual world where they became, for a short time, women. Of course, in reality nothing changed for the men other than the fact that they were now wearing a virtual reality headset. Depending on the subject, what they saw was a first-person perspective from a woman’s body or a more voyeuristic view of seeing their virtual body in third-person.

As soon as the men got comfortable in their virtual bodies another woman in the program would show up. At fist she played nice, only touching and caressing their arms (which was accompanied by a real touch placed on the headset-wearing man in the corresponding spot). As soon as the formalities were over the woman would turn on the men and begin to slap them (no one was slapped in reality).

The researchers found that the men really became attached to their virtual bodies, even moving accordingly to what was happening in the construct. The virtual impact was often marked by flinches and even raised heartbeats.

One more step closer to Total Recall – it can’t come fast enough people.

Source: Dvice, The Guardian

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