Virtual reality holds the potential for immense power, the ability to impact — or even manipulate — people's experiences for days or years after they remove their headsets. As VR simulations become more immersive than ever, these emotional moments will feel more and more like the human perception of memories, like nothing we've ever experienced before. It's a responsibility some creators aren't taking lightly: They'll have the power to create something far more real than our dreams, or nightmares.
Last year, a slew of studies began to emerge that confirmed what long-time book geeks had known for years: that reading books (or a certain type of a book, at least) could strengthen the reader's empathic muscles. In short, reading can make us more emotionally mature.
That's in large part due to the immersion we feel when we read a story. We're pulled in and become part of another world. We experience it.
So if words on a page can do all that, what might the realization of sophisticated virtual reality do to our minds?
That's the question of the day in Chelsea Stark's new piece on Mashable. Stark explores her own emotions as she witnesses, for example, a man being beaten to death. After, she feels "deep chills" when she removes her headset.
The piece, one of Mashable's new feature stories, is both thought-provoking and chilling.