Fantasy versus reality in the online dating world of warcraft
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Brain scans of avid players of the hugely popular online fantasy world World of Warcraft reveal that areas of the brain involved in self-reflection and judgement seem to behave similarly when someone is thinking about their virtual self as when they think about their real one.
Disentangling how the brain regards avatars versus real individuals may help explain why some people spend large chunks of their life playing immersive online games, says Kristina Caudle, a social neuroscientist at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire, who led the study along with her adviser William Kelley.
Liane Young, a social neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge is interested in what brain activity can tell us about our relationships to our virtual characters.
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Caudle’s team also noticed key differences between how people thought about the virtual and real worlds, which must be a necessity for preserving your sense of reality.
“Clearly you don’t think of your virtual self as your real self,” she says.
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