New research by Eryn Grant, a Ph.D. student at Queensland University, says the virtual reality game, Second Life, boosts people's ability to socially interact. The game, according to Grant, improves social connections between complete strangers by making it easier for people to find common interests. Rather than limiting communication, as some may have expected, interactions in a virtual environment are the result of having tools that require the ability to communicate in real-life, such as textual chat features.
While Grant's research applies to typical social interactions, other experiments using interactive technologies have been geared toward treating social disabilities. In British schools, testing has begun on a robot designed to teach autistic children how to communicate. And a study released in April showed that a virtual environment was useful for treating people with addictions.
More importantly, Grant says her research confirms that communication and social skills are not diminishing, but changing, through the use of technology, as demonstrated by social networks like Facebook and MySpace. That is, if we didn't have a need to be social, we wouldn't use technology to seek social interactions.
The title of this article is hilarious. Think about the hard core gamers you know and their social skills. Love 'em, but they're not generally social butterflies.
Eryn Grant might be going for a PHD but she obviously has no idea how to conduct a decent test. It sounds to me like there are no controls in this test at all. Although these users may be improving their online social skills, placing them in a real live situation involving real human interaction would prove to show slim to none improvement. Going to a school chock full of 247 gamers all playing interactive games including 2nd life only further detaches people from reality. Different rules apply to the social interactions one experiences in these games, the fact is, is that its not real and you can say and do anything you want and there would be no consequences other than possibly being kicked off of the game... oh no. This study although i feel is a good idea due to constant social gamings impact on the users actual social life is affecting millions of people world wide. I feel that the findings of this test must be inaccurate. Becoming better at a game is one thing, and even when the game emulates real life it still isnt real life. Actual social interaction depends on a multitude of variables especially confidence. And when your avatar is a good looking guy its a whole heck of a lot easier to talk to people when your hiding behind your character. Actually being confident for who you are and what you look like in real life def are huge variables in this test and it is obvious that they are not being tested.
Virtual reality has a short life span, so enjoy! The latest designs are virtual. Meaning individuals actually interact with other players as themselves. We do like the idea of VR though, it conjures an altered image of oneself and as such will remain popular until the market moves to Virtual interaction gaming.
I have to vouch for her studies. After a bad stint in the service I had a very difficult time adapting to normal social behavior. As a result I fell into gaming because some of the games bridged the gap. After many years of gaming as well as real world time I am much more socially capable. Why because we establish community norms. Much like the norms that non gamers experience if you decide to step out of the socially excepted standards then you are shunned and eventually step back into line except for the few cases of true jerks. As far as your self image theory I consider myself pretty decent looking... and that is confirmed by those I interact with. Also because of that bridged gap after all these years I rarely play and find myself out more often in public, and comfortable being so. More to the point I am now usually the life of the party and one of the commonly asked for people when there is a social event.
My guess as to why I am popular is that I bring an honest face to the conversation, the sense security that is kept in mind when dealing with out nations soldiers, and that I am quick with a smile as well as quick witted in conversation. All said I make people laugh, and they fell more comfortable around me than most people.