University of Barcelona in Spain used immersive VR to give volunteers a virtual out-of-body experience to see if it could reduce their fear of death.
The team divided 32 women into two groups, and suited them up with Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, movement trackers, and vibrating wrist and ankle bands. The reclining volunteers could see a 3D digital environment, as well as a model of their body through their headsets.
Matching their virtual body’s movements with their own further added to what’s referred to as a ‘body ownership illusion’. It’s like a more full-body version of the famous rubber hand illusion – a favourite party trick in science museums, where people can be confused into feeling a fake hand is their own.
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