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Having Virtual Superpowers Helpful in Reality Too

Update Date: Jan 31, 2013 03:38 AM EST

Having a myriad of superpowers while playing a virtual game can make the player a better person in the real world too, a recent research indicates.

The research was done by Robin Rosenberg and other researchers from Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The research details were published in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

For the research, volunteers were introduced to the virtual environment and were given the option to ride as a passenger in a helicopter or to choose the power of flight. After the selection, the volunteers would then have to choose between two tasks: to help find a missing diabetic child or to tour a city. The results were the same irrespective of the task performed.

"Participants who were given the power to fly like Superman in virtual reality were more helpful afterward, out of virtual reality, compared to participants who were passengers in a helicopter in virtual reality," the researchers were quoted as saying in Medicalxpress.

According to the researchers, being a superhero or having their powers in the virtual world made the players 'think like superheroes' in the real world too, ultimately leading them to be helpful in the real world. The other explanation suggested by the researchers was that volunteers who had the power of flight were more actively involved in the game than those who sat in a helicopter, so this active role may have acted as an incentive for them to be helpful in reality as well.

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