The world is currently bombarded with diverse forms of technology. One of these technologies is virtual reality, an innovation that is utilized in video games, military battlefield and rehab centers. However, a study in rats proved that the virtual reality environment differently affects the brain than it experiences in the real world (Urdea & Coiffet, 2003). For example, while in virtual reality setup, the rat’s brain failed to form a mental map of the surrounding environment as it forms in the real-life setting. As a result, researchers and scientists have suggested the reaction in rat’s brains provides clues on how the technology could be utilized in restoring human navigating ability and memory (Cherniack, 2011). However, the difference in reaction of the hippocampus (the brain region responsible for learning and memory) and the mental map ability during the virtual reality experience brings us to the question whether virtual reality affects the brain.
Virtual reality distorts the natural brain mental maps. Biologically, the brain has neurons that continuously map out the individual’s environment and position in real-life. These neurons are referred to as the hippocampal neurons. During the rats experiment with the virtual reality environment, their neurons began firing up randomly. This is a sign that they did not understand where they were. In simplicity, virtual reality completely distorts the mental reality which may result in negative performance of human brain (Moffat & Resnick, 2002).
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Additionally, Moffat & Resnick (2002) presents that virtual reality has the ability to confuse the brain due to the increasingly conflicting information and data. The occipital lobe located at the back of the brain acts as the vision center and is actively involved in interpreting the virtual visuals in the virtual reality environment. However, other brain centers such as parietal lobe involved in interpreting touch would be sensing something different. This indifference has the potential of crashing down normal brain performance (Moffat & Resnick, 2002).
Finally, virtual reality may damage the sequences in which memories are stored in the brain thereby resulting in psychological effects. In the human brain, neurons are the key part responsible for the creation of memory in diverse channels. However, immediately the virtual reality is introduced, the natural memory storage channels are disrupted. As a result, McKie, (2017) concludes that virtual reality has the potential of affecting the manner in which brain balance the body and its memory storage capability.
Despite the suggestion that virtual reality would be utilized in treating brain injuries, a cost-benefit analysis proves that the costs which are negative in nature are weighty. For example, if memories are negatively stored, there is a high chance that the individual will begin experiencing psychological effects. Additionally, the extensity of the effects in virtual reality environments has the potential of damaging critical brain parts such as occipital lobe responsible for vision. For instance, fooling the brain that the eyes are looking at a far distance may result in an unexpected stretch of the codes resulting in eye damage.