Isness: Using Multi-Person VR to Design Peak Mystical-Type Experiences Comparable to Psychedelics

David R. Glowacki, Mark D. Wonnacott, Rachel Freire, Becca Rose Glowacki, Ella M. Gale, James E. Pike, Tiu de Haan, Mike Chatziapostolou, Oussama Metatla

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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Abstract

Studies combining psychotherapy with psychedelic drugs (PsiDs) have demonstrated positive outcomes that are often associated with PsiDs' ability to induce 'mystical-type' experiences (MTEs) - i.e., subjective experiences whose characteristics include a sense of connectedness, transcendence, and ineffability. We suggest that both PsiDs and virtual reality can be situated on a broader spectrum of psychedelic technologies. To test this hypothesis, we used concepts, methods, and analysis strategies from PsiD research to design and evaluate 'Isness', a multi-person VR journey where participants experience the collective emergence, fluctuation, and dissipation of their bodies as energetic essences. A study (N=57) analyzing participant responses to a commonly used PsiD experience questionnaire (MEQ30) indicates that Isness participants had MTEs comparable to those reported in double-blind clinical studies after high doses of psilocybin & LSD. Within a supportive setting and conceptual framework, VR phenomenology can create the conditions for MTEs from which participants derive insight and meaning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing System
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages1-14
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6708-0/20/04
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
Event2020 International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Honolulu, USA, Hawai, United States
Duration: 25 Apr 202030 Apr 2020
https://chi2020.acm.org/

Publication series

NameCHI '20: Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Conference

Conference2020 International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI
CountryUnited States
CityHawai
Period25/04/2030/04/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • cs.HC

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