Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This is Your Brain on Virtuality

Iconoclast is a fascinating book on the neuroscience of innovative thinking. Although it doesn't address virtual worlds directly, I've run out of post-it flags marking relevant passages that shed light on our digital experience.

One of the main themes of the book (supported by a slew of research) is that the best way to break out of mental ruts is to confront your brain with stimuli it has not seen before. It seems to me that the experience of being an avatar within a virtual world is one of the most radical shifts in self-perception one can experience. The explosion of creativity many people experience through virtual worlds has a neurological basis. Pretty cool.


Madelyn Writer said...

Yes, interesting, agreed, etc. What I find positively annoying is that I cannot help sometimes but be me in SL, only a little more ego-driven. Although I am enamored with the self-discovery (and plain ol' discovery) that SL permits, I am somewhat disappointed to always wind up face to face with myself!

This all probably sounds daft. Bad day, not enough coffee, insert additional rationale here, etc.

Michele Hyacinth said...

Wow, the collective stream of consciousness. Ironically enough (for me), the title of my NaNoWriMo attempt is "Iconoclast Rising." And along the lines of your post, in RL when I had the misfortune of needing to see a napraquack (wasn't that effective for me), she noticed that I often wore two different colored socks when I went to the early morning treatments (7:30 a.m.). And she said the same thing as you mention from the book...that doing something differently, driving to and from work along a different path, going to the grocery store a different way, changing mixing up the sock colors all serve to reawaken the brain. SL definitely accomplishes this, and even in small RL ways, we can continue to challenge our perspectives. I'll have to read this book. Thanks as always for your great posts, Botgirl.