Virtual reality is a gradually growing market. When not providing an immersive experience for video games and other media forms, it’s being used for helping people. While normally this means helping people address phobias and for physical rehabilitation services, It’s also helping cure another serious affliction: gambling addiction.
More than Just Fun
Virtual Reality’s biggest draw, and most common interest, is with video games. Despite its limited capabilities, and hefty investment costs, gamers have been absolutely entranced by the “it’s like I’m really there” sensation VR offers. Being able to turn your head naturally and seeing what’s beside you combined with the 3D sense of depth instilled with the stereoscopic screen setup allows for users to feel a far greater sense of immersion than ever before.
Scientists believe that there’s more to the medium than simply fun times and epic loot. They believe that virtual reality has uses beyond that of entertainment, stretching as far as to therapy and rehabilitation. VR has already wiggled its way into topics like physical fitness, marketing, and music, but what has us the most interested is how it could treat something as psychological as gambling addiction.
One organization working toward exactly this is the Cyberpsychology Laboratory of the Université du Québec en Outaouais. The Cyberpsychology Lab has been working on using virtual reality as a form of therapy against the game-of-chance affliction.
But How Exactly?
Phobias and fitness make sense in a virtual setting. I’ve seen VR games attached to exercise bikes that allow the player to “bike” through fictional and otherwise fantastical landscapes. But how could it help something like gambling? Cyberpsychology Laboratory founder Stephane Bouchard believes that VR is the perfect medium to allow those addicted to gambling to tackle their online gambling temptations in an artificial environment, where they can’t actually succumb to it.
Though these virtual settings, doctors can control the scenario. This not only would allow scientists to learn invaluable information about how the human mind acts when faced with these struggles in real time, but would allow these worlds to be finely crafted specifically for recovery. All of this wouldn’t be possible with online casinos on a regular screen.
Could It Work?
Virtual reality is still a young technology, it’s full potential has not been fully realized. Whether that means the future will have more ways to help heal the human race, or just higher resolution video games, is unclear. Though one thing is certain: it’s already making a difference today.
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