I, avatar: Towards an extended theory of selfhood in immersive VR

Zahiu Anda

Absztrakt / abstract

In this paper, I argue that virtual manifestations of selfhood in VR environments have a transformative effect on the users, which in turn has spillover effects in the physical world. I will argue in favor of extending our notion of personal identity as to include VR avatars as negotiable bodies who constitute a genuine part of who we are. Recent research in VR shows that users can experience the Proteus Effect and other lasting psychological changes after being immersed in VR. An extended theory of the self, modelled after the extended mind thesis advanced by Clark and Chalmers (1998), can offer a deeper understanding of how and why immersive virtual experiences have such a transformative effect on users. The early VR scholars had a similar intuition- that “VR is a medium for the extension of body and mind” (Biocca and Delaney 1995), acting like a genuine “reality engine”


Virtual Reality; personal identity; first-person perspective; embodiment; virtual environments

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22503/inftars.XIX.2019.4.10

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