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Jim Blascovich, Ph.D.

Jim Blascovich Ph.D.

Let's be clear about what virtual reality is

Everyone has virtual experiences via endogenous dreams and daydreams.

Given that scholars disagree about what constitutes "reality," can one be definitive about what defines"virtual reality?" In our book, Infinite Reality, we discuss the notion of psychological relativity.

Scientists have proven that motion and time are perceptually relative. We add "reality" to this list even though everyone "knows" that there is a "real" world-the one in which we are born and die-the interim marking our physical existence. Hence, the "natural" or "physical" world is assumed to be the real one. But is it? Only, by definition. Scholars have long discounted the absolute reality of what is perceived as the physical world via sensory, philosophical, spiritual and theological arguments.

Everyone has compelling virtual experiences via endogenously generated dreams and daydreams. Humans have invented ever more psychologically immersing media technologies-from language and story telling, through paintings, sculpture, theater, manuscripts and books, photography and cinematography, radio and television to digital technologies-allowing us to travel perceptually to places we've never been including many that don't exist physically.

Everyone assumes a "grounded" reality as their "real world." Any other reality is "virtual." In our terms, most people consider the physical world as grounded and any other, whether simulated endogenously or exogenously as virtual . This means that one person's grounded reality could be another's virtual reality and vice versa-a repetitive them in films such as The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Inception as well as science fiction novels. An important implication is that many psychological processes operate similarly in both grounded and virtual realities.