Simulated States of Consciousness: Inducing Psychedelic Experiences in Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has recently been utilized in a therapeutic tool within the area of psychotherapy. VR therapy has become a significant approach to a number of psychological disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression through exposure therapy and simulated environments (Park et al., 2019). However, the potential to mimic psychedelic experiences through VR simulations as a therapeutic modality has yet to be examined. Current research suggests individuals in VR simulated psychedelic experiences undergo similar effects to those using psychedelic drugs (Suzuki et al., 2017). Yet the extent to which psychedelic VR simulations can physiologically impact the brain and mind is largely unexplored. To determine whether VR simulations can mimic psychedelic drugs, a targeting of 5-HT receptor activity, within the frontal lobe, is proposed in order to hypothesize an area of activation for psychedelic simulations (Lu and Liu, 2017). This paper will examine drug mechanisms of psychedelics, the theoretical application of VR-based psychedelic therapy, and postulate a method to measure the effectiveness of psychedelic simulations with respect to psychopathology.
- Master of Digital Media
- Digital Media
Granting InstitutionRyerson University
LAC Thesis Type