Virtual Characters tortured for Science

Van Mensvoort
December 15th 2009

virtual milgrim

In the classic Milgram Experiment conducted in the 1960s, volunteers were told by an authority figure to deliver electric shocks to another person as punishment for incorrect answers to a test. The other person wasn't really receiving the shocks, but the volunteers were tricked into thinking they were by shouts of pain and protest. Despite this feedback, some volunteers went on to deliver what would have been lethal shocks.

Professor Mel Slater of the Catalan Polytechnic University has recreated the Milgram experiment using a computer simulated woman, with some interesting results. "The main conclusion of our study is that humans tend to respond realistically at subjective, physiological, and behavioural levels in interaction with virtual characters notwithstanding their cognitive certainty that they are not real." Some part of the brain just doesn't know about virtual reality.

Via Medgadget. Related: A Society of Simulations, AutimacyAvatar Machine, If avatars could vote, WOWOW.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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