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Tuesday, November 10, 2020


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Luther Weymann

Over the past decade, I've chatted with dozens of SL content creators who are between the ages of 65-85. Previously, I thought that I was in a tiny group of senior citizens using SL, but I was wrong. In my 70's having SL as a hobby and creating content a little bit every day has been a powerful method to keep my retired from business brain sharper than most other activities. And this is what all of the senior citizen's content creators I've chatted with agreed upon. Having to creatively think our way through SL product content creation is a terrific way to keep old brains thinking creatively and staying sharp. I attempted to tell my neighbor about the benefits of building in SL. He is also my doctor for the past 35 years. But, all I could get out of him was, "uh-huh, ok, now let's talk about getting you to exercise more." Oh well.


There is truth in that research. And I agree with the conclusion in your article on Samsung Next, about the power and potential of avatars "While they might only seem like a fanciful escape for entertainment, they can also help us become better versions of our selves — and better prepare us for the hard realities that will always exist behind the screens where our avatars live."

And it's true that it also works in worlds that are not VR. Indeed it also works for some psychological visualization techniques. But "really" seeing your visualization, probably makes it more effective. Some non-VR virtual worlds offer an optional first person view anyway.

If you have little self-confidence, utilizing your avatar to visualize yourself in a certain way, it may give you some (note: by saying this I'm not condoning aggressive overconfident egomaniacs and "very stable geniuses", so don't fall down on this opposite side).
Maybe this also explains some of the improvements in those IQ tests: some people are smarter than they believe, but their insecurities affect them. By visualizing themselves as Einstein, that helped to lift those insecurities.

Also this reinforcement by self-visualization helps other people too:
if you are feeling depressed, but you are determined to feel better, immersing yourself in a colorful virtual world and visualizing yourself dressed as colorful or as a fun-loving person helps, sometimes (it depends on various factors and you may need some other kind of help too anyway). But I have seen this helping with panic attacks too, for some people.

Also it helps trans people to visualize themselves as the person they are. Especially before hormone therapy and surgeries. It's pretty ugly to pretend you are a guy when behind the appearance there is a woman or vice-versa, and you put this mask to not be distanced by your conservative family, lose job, be bullied and harassed by ignorant dudes (if not killed), depending on where you live.
But there in the virtual world, you are free to be really yourself, with your avatar, and this gives you a relief.

During the COVID-19 lock-downs some people like me enjoyed to visualize ourselves going out to (virtual) natural places. And now it's going to happen again...

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