The Exciting Future
of Virtual Reality
and Physical Senses

Graduate School of Media and Governance
Master's Program First Year
Keita Goto

Program: Cognition, Sense-Making and Biophysical Skills(CB)

What makes you feel so sure that your body belongs to you?

 Just after I started my undergraduate studies at SFC, I joined a newly established extracurricular club where we could learn about virtual reality. Though I had already been interested in VR, it was there that I became enthralled by the wonders of body and perception. I found some of the more mysterious phenomena -- including phantom limb pain and alien hand syndrome -- fascinating. Luckily, I also had the opportunity to attend Assistant Professor Masaki Mori's laboratory right after it was established at SFC, and began VR-related research of my own.

What makes you feel so sure that your body belongs to you? Why do people get tricked into believing that a set of rubber hands are their own? How can a mysterious illusion of bodily possession be avoided? I'm trying to answer these kinds of questions with motion capture and HMDs (headsets for VR). My ongoing research focuses on discovering key conditions that trigger our sense of body ownership.

In the future, we can become whoever we want to be.

 Since research in this area is at an early stage, my hope is that there will be many useful applications of my findings once we know more about our sense of body ownership. One day it may be possible to ease pain and other symptoms for people who have lost a part of their body due to illness or accident. This research could help children overcome their fears of surgery if we had the tools to simulate it in advance. In the near future, robotic arms could increase human abilities through body augmentation.

At SFC, many professors pursue innovative research fields that can't be categorized into traditional academic disciplines. I've also been able to incorporate fresh insights from fellow students into my own research. Getting feedback on my work from people in other fields is certainly advantageous. This open approach has allowed me to develop and consider new areas of research as I encounter them. When you get interested in new fields of study, It's OK to change seminars or join many. I don't believe you'll find a more flexible research environment anywhere else.

If your avatar is stabbed with a knife during a VR experience, you typically feel uncomfortable -- as if you've been actually stabbed. It's also been shown that your real-life personality and behavior can change based on the type of avatar you choose for VR. If you choose a superhero as an avatar, for example, you're more likely to feel a desire to help others. These findings suggest that in the future, we can become whoever we want to be. I'll continue my research with the aim of making such a future arrive as soon as possible.

Introduction of Laboratory

MORI, Masaki Laboratory

Mori Masaki Laboratory

Research Fields:
Experimental Psychology, Mathematical Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Physical Education

The main purpose of this seminar is to study perceptual and cognitive functions relating to the mind and the body. We aim to discover various perceptual and cognitive phenomenon, to verify models, and to construct models.