Monday, May 23, 2011

This is your brain in a virtual collaboration environment

Jim Blascovich, Ph.D.
About a year ago, we posted an article titled "This is your brain on PowerPoint." It's consistently been one of our most popular posts since then. The point was to articulate the challenges of communicating 3-D information using 2-D methods.

We also talk a lot about the benefits of training, learning, and holding meetings and other events in virtual environments. Some of our customers have documented how they've been able to improve knowledge transfer and knowledge retention, for instance.

But what's really behind those numbers? Well, we went to Jim Blascovich, Ph.D., to find out. Here's what he had to tell us about what our brains are like in a virtual collaboration environment.

Dr. Blascovich is the Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Co-Director of the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Jeremy Bailenson, Ph.D.
He recently wrote "Infinite Reality" with Jeremy Bailenson, Ph.D., Founding Director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University.

Drs. Blascovich and Bailenson's new book reveals how our brains behave in virtual environments, and examine where virtual reality technology can take us in the next five-10 years, and beyond.

Their pioneering research has brought new light to what virtual environment technology means for how we work and live.

In our podcast with Dr. Blascovich, we covered a lot of ground about the differences between virtual environments and the real world, including the advantages and disadvantages he sees with both mediums. Dr. Blascovich discussed how our behavior changes when we're in a virtual environment, and the ways it impacts how we train virtually.

"As the virtual better approximates the real in terms of sensory perceptual information that the brain is getting, the brain and mind find it more difficult to distinguish the difference," he says.

When you tune in, you'll also find out how this leading virtual reality researcher defines the virtual revolution himself, where he sees virtual technology having the most promise, and how the public as well as companies should be reacting to this impeding change.

We hope you find it useful and informative. Thanks, Dr. Blascovich, for sharing your and your team's research!

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