Virtual Reality, Real Impact

Brad M. Griffin | Apr 21, 2011

How do actions in virtual worlds impact behavior in the real world?

This has been a question that the social sciences have been speculating for some time, but evidence is tricky. A new study out of Stanford finds some of that evidence in a virtual tree-cutting exercise that (in this case) led to real-life paper conservation. Read about it here, or watch this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9kfbcRrQ8&feature

This is just one study, but it raises lots of other questions about the power of immersion into alternate versions of reality. For youth workers, parents, and the gamers they love (yes, I know those categories may not be mutually exclusive), theres at least some evidence that this kind of gaming does change behavior. In this particular case its positive. A study last year also found violent gaming was connected to real-life aggression. Both are worth talking about.

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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