Nicco Reggente is a PhD candidate in UCLA's Cognitive Neuroscience department, and as part of his work, he wants to create a castle in Second Life - specifically, a virtual version of a "Memory Palace", also known as the Method of loci, an ancient means of memorizing information:
"The MoL technique is designed to exploit the remarkable vividness of our visuospatial memories by using spatial environments as scaffolding for memorizing non-spatial content," as he explains. "[O]ne is typically instructed to conjure up a familiar structure (e.g., a childhood home) in their imagination that will serve as their 'memory palace'. While mentally navigating through this environment, one can imagine 'placing' a list of to-be-remembered items in different locations. When later attempting to retrieve this list of items, one simply has to navigate back through the environment and 'observe' the objects in their previously placed locations. My proposal would give this classically powerful mnemonic technique a virtual makeover by creating virtual memory palaces and allowing participants to volitionally place to-be-remembered objects in locations of their choosing."
As it happens, the Memory Palace idea is one of Philip Rosedale's inspirations for the creation of Second Life, so I think Nicco is on the right track. However, the challenge is creating such a palace in SL, under some very specific criterion he has. However, he has a budget to pay an SL creator (ideally who lives in the Los Angeles area), and, you know, it's For Science. If you're interested, e-mail Nicco Reggente at nreggente at psych dot ucla dot edu.
But first, read the guidelines he has in mind - they will probably require the Second Life game creation tools released earlier this year:
"I need a virtual environment where a subject can enter and then, when ready, have an object in their hands that they can then go and place it somewhere in the virtual world. I need to control for how long the subjects are exposed to the object, so the object would need to disappear after a certain period of time. As soon as the object disappears, I would then want another item to take its place so the subject can then go and place that item in another location. I would want this experience to be as seamless as possible for users. So, no HUD or anything complicated. I want the user to jsut be able to push a single button to place the object. I would want to have this feature available for three different, unique, Memory Palaces."
Tall order, with potentially amazing results. Again, if you're interested, e-mail Nicco Reggente at nreggente at psych dot ucla dot edu
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