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This article explores the potential effects of virtual reality onour subsequent experiences of the world. If, as Daniel Dennet,Jerome Bruner, and others have argued, our past experiences in-fluence subsequent perceptions of the world, then VR experiencescan have a profound effect on our conscious beings. Those expe-riences can become part of a perceptual and an emotional back-ground that changes the way we see things. At its best, virtualreality can allow us to transcend our limitations, to expand ouremotional lives. At its worst, VR can become a form of torture,in which we subject ourselves to traumatic experiences that scarour emotional and perceptual lives. [1] For those of us who spend too much time playingcomputer games, the following is a common experience. Insteadof grading student essays or writing that important article,we spend the late afternoon staring at the computer screen,trying to master our favorite driving game. We gently pull atthe joy stick to make the virtual car gracefully turn thosecorners, we click on buttons to change gears, and we pressvarious keys to accelerate and decelerate. Because we039re stilllearning the various courses, we turn on the quotindestructiblequotbutton so that crashes do not disable our virtual automobile. Aswe play the game more frequently, we become accustomed tohow the road appears to approach us on the screen, how thejoystick allows us to negotiate the turns, and (if others areequally bad computer drivers), how the windshield temporarilyappears when we have smashed into the guard rail. Of course,those crashes cause no permanent damage to the virtual carunder the File menu awaits the next run at Le Mans, or MonteCarlo, or wherever we wish to test our computer driving skill(or lack of skill). [2] Having wasted inordinate amounts of time, we leave theoffice to drive home. Something, however, is wrong. Theactual car has a steering wheel, not a joystick we need to useour feet to control the speed, and the road approaches usdifferently as we drive. We feel disoriented, as if needing torelearn the experience of driving an actual automobile. We alsocannot drive with the same reckless abandon--crashes have real(and extremely expensive) consequences. They can even be fatal. [3] What I have described above is what I would call thequotreality-makingquot effect of our experiences. What we perceive asreal depends upon our past experiences, and our reactions to theworld are influenced by those experiences. When we learned todrive a car, for example, we gained an internalized sense ofdriving. Each time we drove, our quotdriving scriptquot (as artificialintelligence theorists would call it) became more and moredetailed, and we needed to attend less and less to the specificdetails of the process. We could think about that stack of papersor that important article, even while we were changing lanes,making turns, or pulling into the driveway. Each newexperience of driving expanded upon and reinforced the pastquotscript,quot and that script came into play each time we drove,governing how we reacted to the world. [4] Playing the computer driving game rewrites our quotdrivingscript.quot The more time we spend playing, the more significantthe rewriting. We begin to take the virtual world as normal (asactual)--the way the road appears on the screen, the way thejoystick controls the quotcar,quot and so on. Reconfronting the actualworld reveals the extent of the rewriting. We feel momentarilydisoriented because the virtual and actual scripts conflict.We are no longer sure what is quotreal,quot and we must allow ournew experiences to write over the changes that the computergame inscribed. The reality re-making effect of these drivinggames should make us wonder, therefore, about thepsychological effects of the more vivid form of computer-simulation known as quotvirtual reality,quot in which the virtualworld becomes three-dimensional and our participationbecomes more direct. [5] Jerome Bruner calls our internal scripts of the world (likethe quotdriving scriptquot I describe above) quotneural 039models of theworld039 stored in the brainquot (Bruner 46). According to Bruner,the common psychological reaction of surprise indicates quotaresponse to violated presuppositionquot (Bruner 46). Wepresuppose that the world will be a certain way based on our pastexperiences of the world, and when something diverts from thetypical (i.e., from our internalized quotmodels of the worldquot), weare surprised and must somehow account for the discrepancy.As surprise reveals, we compare each new experience with whatwe have experienced in the past those past experiences make upa series of quotpossible worldsquot against which we view the actualworld. With more typical experiences, we fit the new into theold. As Bruner puts it, quotwhat human perceivers do is to takewhatever scraps they can extract from the stimulus input, and ifthese conform to expectancy, to read the rest from the model [ofthe world] in their headquot (Bruner [1986], 47). In other words,perception is not a purely immediate response to neutral visual(or other sensory) stimuli. Perception involves a more complexprocess of quotworld makingquot (Bruner 96)--of constructing a unifiedconception of the world based on the new and the old. [6] In _Consciousness Explained_, Daniel Dennett describesthis process in more detail. He summarizes what he calls quotthe039analysis-by-synthesis039 model of perceptionquot (12): the tasks of perception are completed--objects are identified, recognized, categorized--by generate-and- test cycles. In such a cycle, one039s current expectations and interests shape hypotheses for one039s perceptual systems to confirm or disconfirm, and a rapid sequence of such hypothesis generations and confirmations produces the ultimate product, the ongoing, updated 039model039 of the world of the perceiver. (12).Private server of jade dynasty are the bomb theyr free

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