Using clever camera angles, virtual goggles and physical caresses, a team of researchers was able to make people feel as if they had an invisible body. Furthermore, feeling invisible reduced the anxiety brought on by standing in front of an audience, the researchers found.
They also plan to study whether feeling invisible affects a person’s moral compass, by exposing him or her to a number of moral dilemmas while under the illusion.
But could the sensation of invisibility have an even greater effect on our minds?
This is actually one of the oldest philosophical questions. In Book II of Plato’s Republic, one of Socrates’s interlocutors tells a story of a shepherd, an ancestor of the ancient Lydian king Gyges, who finds a magic ring that makes the wearer invisible. The power quickly corrupts him, and he becomes a tyrant.
…”Follow-up studies should also investigate whether the feeling of invisibility affects moral decision-making, to ensure that future invisibility cloaking does not make us lose our sense of right and wrong, which Plato asserted over two millennia ago,” said the report’s co-author, Henrik Ehrsson.
Posted by John B. Chilton