A new virtual reality app developed by German scientists at the University of Duisberg-Essen has shown impressive and somewhat frightening results. It turned out that with the proper level of immersion in virtual reality, it is very easy for a person to forget about the existence of his body and “mentally” move into another being. Including the many-legged spiders or bats that are so different from us.
The phenomenon that scientists have studied is called the "rubber hand illusion" and consists in the fact that under the right conditions, a person begins to perceive a new part of the body as his own. And then organize their actions and make decisions in such a way that the new body participates in them. But not as an auxiliary element, but as the main one, which a person has been using for a long time.
In experiments with virtual reality, participants reported that when they were in the form of a bat, they ceased to perceive themselves as people. They retain clarity of thinking, but at the level of emotions and actions, they consider themselves mice, moreover, they are volatile, which maneuver in the air in a way that a person is not given in principle. And the experimental people liked this sensation, it did not cause discomfort - they were ready to defend the version that they were really transferred into the body of the animal, and not just sitting in a VR helmet.
The same was observed with the switch to the spider image. Having mastered, people began to talk about the charm of movement on eight legs, how interesting the world is, if you look at it with a dozen pairs of eyes. This discovery was of great interest to scientists, both from the standpoint of studying the potential of human consciousness, and as a prospect for the development of real technologies of avatars.