Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Relaxation Response

By "relaxation response," I do not (only) mean a summertime post, but the counterbalancing response to stress theorized by Herbert Benson, M.D.; click here for the Benson-Henry Mind-Body Institute's website.  There is a study starting in early September in which I've agreed to be a subject that will investigate whether people can be taught to elicit the relaxation response in Second Life.   There is one session in which the avatars do yoga, but the people do not.  The researchers postulate that the people will get a real-life benefit from their virtual yoga.

This is pretty interesting stuff.  It explores the mind-body connection as it applies to people's relationships to their avatars, to how their avatars' experiences effect them.  I wrote previously about how much more fun it was to have L1Aura do physical things like dance at a rave, jump off a cliff with Nettrice, or hang glide than I ever would have thought they would be.  They are experiences, more so than if I had only watched them in a film, but not fully physical, either.  Is the difference the participation, being able to control the motions?   Is it the identification that we build up with our avatars?  

On another note, there is an article about my Newbury Comics Faculty Fellowship Award in the current issue of the Berklee Alumni Magazine, Berklee Today.  I took the picture they used of me myself, so figure that one out.

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