According to the latest IT news, researchers in U.K utilized virtual reality to make a machine that can cause hallucinations without the use of drugs.
A study that was published in the journal Scientific Reports says that researchers at the Sackler Center for Consciousness Science at the England’s University of Sussex combined a virtual reality platform with the computer program called DeepDream to make a ‘hallucination machine’.
The study details how the researchers used a series of panoramic videos that featured natural scenes depicted from a virtual reality headset. The DeepDream visualization algorithm was then used to produce biologically realistic visual hallucinations.
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Numerous participants tried out the machine and experienced the virtual reality, after which they were made to describe these experiences and feelings through questionnaires. After going over the written experience descriptions, researchers found out that similar hallucinations are induced by psilocybin, which a psychedelic drug. This drug also is one of the main ingredients in ‘magic’ mushrooms, which also are called “shrooms”.
Anil Seth, one of the main researchers who worked on the study said that the virtual reality machine can offer an understanding of how the brain works after it starts experiencing hallucinations that are caused by drugs or psychiatric conditions. He further noted that it is very important to properly understand how brain perception also works, as it also sheds new light on the changes in visual processing during hallucinatory episodes.
Seth further said that the researchers plan to further tweak the machines for future research purposes. This might consist of simulating hallucinatory experiences and combining them with brain imaging. Such activities are touted by the researchers to improve the understanding of how the brain generates visual experiences, in normal everyday lives as well as in hallucinatory episodes.
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