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Psychiatry and Second Life

VhbuildingThis podcast is a tour of the Virtual Hallucinations building on Davis Island in Second Life. The building simulates what it is like to suffer from the auditry and visual hallucinations associated with schizophrenia. I walked round the building in the company of the researcher behind the project Professor Peter Yellowlees. It's a very disturbing place to visit, but an effective illustration of the potential of virtual words. While it's impossible to know what it is like to suffer from schizophrenia unless one has the condition, this building is a good approximation, based upon actual patient testimony. It must be a tremendous help to psychiatrists hoping to better understand the affect of the illness on the way their patients view the world. Even hallucinations rendered in the crude visuals and audio of Second Life were very disorientating and not a little distressing.

The audio was recorded via Skype through a mixer with the audio output from second life routed through the PC's soundcard while skype was routed through a separate soundcard plugged into a the PCMA slot..enabling me to control the level of the audio halucinations while talking to Peter. Both outputs were put through a physical mixer enabling me to send a mix-minus back to Peter.

April 29, 2007 in podcasts, Science | Permalink


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Skype's a miracle. You've got a great setup working in there. Anyway, hope you can drop by my site too about teleconferencing. The link's here:


You and your readers can get more current information on VOIP. Do let me know what you think of it.

Posted by: Robert | May 4, 2007 9:16:43 AM

very informative! Thanks! skype rocks.

Posted by: NaiveLondonGirl | Sep 28, 2007 8:20:19 AM

That's an interesting breakthrough. If anything, that should help the psychiatrists become a tad more empathetic with their patients.

Posted by: ventura | Jan 19, 2008 5:38:59 PM

Second Life. Ugh. Nice use of skype though.

Posted by: Christopher | Mar 4, 2008 7:39:37 AM

I had an interresting conversation with my psychologist about the clinical applications of Secondlife. I'm a long time Secondlife resident and discovered he'd had had little experience with it. I decided to do some research and send him some information. I discovered hallucination house through a google search but found the experience of being there a little disturbing. This wasn't soley due to the auditry and visual hallucinations associated with schizophrenia, but that my avitar got stuck in front ot the picutre of the guy with the beard - I couldn't move (walk or fly) and then my avitar started contorting itself into very odd postures. My only way out was to teleport to a place of safety - I then realised I'd forgotten to turn off the hallucination badge and the voices followed me. What an experience.

Posted by: Spykiehead Seesaw | Aug 28, 2008 2:11:14 PM

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