Monday, June 16, 2008

The impact of immersive worlds on human emotional processes. Part 1 of a series

I started this post on Saturday morning with just a title: "Suddenly Psycho: Why your virtual friends go Mr. Hyde on your ass." After many false starts, I realized a snarky approach was not a worthy response to the intense pain and suffering people experience when emotions spin out of control.

As Dale Innis reminded me that night, the seeds of the dysfunctional processes that spring to life in the virtual world are rooted within the physical world. So that's where I begin.

The human psyche has been tuned by eons of evolution to transform relatively limited experience into an overaching internal model of reality. Given the minuscule amount of information you have to work with, it's no wonder there's often a gap between what you believe to be true and the way things actually are.

Unfortunately, insufficient data isn't the only roadblock to clear understanding. For better or for worse, the journey from womb to walking is the most critical period of human development. When everything goes well, toddlers transition into childhood with access to the full potential of their unique genetic expression. When significant developmental needs go unmet, the resulting deficits and dysfunction can last a lifetime.

The Road

Stay tuned for Part 2: A True Story


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A beautiful thought experiment personified through the imagined perspective of a self-aware avatar. My creator's site can is at