Second Life Study Focuses on Real-World Addictions

Second Life Study Focuses on Real-World Addictions

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Second Life is now being used to evaluate how visual cues can affect a drug addict's cravings.

People seem to keep on coming up with new, bizarre, and fascinating uses for Second Life. The latest, created by a UCLA PHD candidate, was to use the digital world to study how virtual drug paraphernalia would affect the cravings of a meth addict.

Chris Culbertson was inspired to create this experiment thanks to "reports of alcoholics and smokers developing cravings while visiting virtual worlds devised by addiction researchers." So he created a virtual meth house and then invited seventeen meth addicts to navigate the construct while under observation at UCLA. Aside from filling out questionnaires while they proceeded through the house, the addicts' heart rates were monitored to study their cravings.

Two of these houses were actually created. One was clean - serving as the control example - and one had a number of items designed to trigger the addicts' cravings: "Visitors to the 'meth apartment' are served up visual cues such as 'pipes, lighters, bags of meth, syringes, lines of meth,' and audio clips, prompting them to 'Click on the pipe if you want a hit.'"

I'm not sure how I actually feel about this experiment. On one hand, it's useful to learn about how a person's cravings are affected by visual cues like this. At the same time, speaking as someone who lost a relative to a serious drug addiction, it seems like the study has the possibility to harm the test subjects by tempting them to use again (provided, of course, that these individuals are trying to kick the habit in the first place).

Source: GamePolitics

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I think its wonderful. The fear around drugs, because of the effects, has reached fever pitch at the moment; and people are still doing them - because no-one is allowed to study the effects.

Which is a similar cycle to what the drug users themselves are going through.

If the Government isn't going to de-criminalise drugs for proper medical testing, then virtual drug testing is at least going to put people looking at this realistically, without going into idiocy like Reefer Madness.

People do drugs. People will always do drugs. If you're going to police them effectively, you NEED to know how they work.

And it's not going to be a few visual clues that addict them: because it wasn't that in the first place.

Speaking as an ex-smoker: Temptation isn't the problem. The problem is the reason you started in the first place. And that covers ALL the drugs, not just the illegal ones.

To those that have lost someone, I'm sorry - I have a member of my family on that particular train as well - but surely looking at the effects in a controlled environment is preferable to them just collapsing back when they lose faith in the system?

I've lost someone very close to me due to drugs as well, and it's really not pretty. I really hope they were able to resist temptations and stay clean, but taking someone who is trying to quit meth and having them look at all that stuff, voluntary or not.... Seems wrong

No IRB would allow the test to go forward if there was any real chance of doing harm. In animals there is a judgement call, but you can be sure that with human subjects whatever was done to them has been investigated and deemed to be extremely low to no risk at all of causing any harmful effects.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I think its wonderful. The fear around drugs, because of the effects, has reached fever pitch at the moment; and people are still doing them - because no-one is allowed to study the effects.

Which is a similar cycle to what the drug users themselves are going through.

If the Government isn't going to de-criminalise drugs for proper medical testing, then virtual drug testing is at least going to put people looking at this realistically, without going into idiocy like Reefer Madness.

The UK actually has proper testing (depending on your definition, it's low level voluntary studies with existing users which colours the results somwhat.). When the board they asked to review drugs came back with a report requesting reductions in status for several class A drugs (and the inclusion of alcohol above some of those) the government sidelined them in favour of 'common sense'and 'public acceptability'. After years of this happening the lead scientist on the board made a very embarrassing and public resignation. The new panel gets equally ignored.

But this is about addiction not drugs. Would be interesting to know if visual cues alone can be addictive.

Unrulyhandbag:

The UK actually has proper testing (depending on your definition, it's low level voluntary studies with existing users which colours the results somwhat.). When the board they asked to review drugs came back with a report requesting reductions in status for several class A drugs (and the inclusion of alcohol above some of those) the government sidelined them in favour of 'common sense'and 'public acceptability'. After years of this happening the lead scientist on the board made a very embarrassing and public resignation. The new panel gets equally ignored.

Yeah, while leaving the House of Commons as the only workplace where you can drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes indoors.

Nice.

Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

I don't think they just walked around asking "are you a meth addict? You want to be in a study?" I'm guessing they were already in some program

That is just Wrooooooong ! S.L. is EVILNESS against oneself !

Kuchinawa212:
Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

second life's statistics regarding playtime is 5 minutes a month. i am not lying a second life user only plays for 5 minutes a MONTH.

Ultratwinkie:

Kuchinawa212:
Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

second life's statistics regarding playtime is 5 minutes a month. i am not lying a second life user only plays for 5 minutes a MONTH.

hehe that solves that. Yeah I thought it was a fad. Used a lot for "this actually exsites on the internet! stuff but it's not really that big anymore kinda thing

Kuchinawa212:

Ultratwinkie:

Kuchinawa212:
Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

second life's statistics regarding playtime is 5 minutes a month. i am not lying a second life user only plays for 5 minutes a MONTH.

hehe that solves that. Yeah I thought it was a fad. Used a lot for "this actually exsites on the internet! stuff but it's not really that big anymore kinda thing

My friend had to use it for school, and the teacher gave them a bunch of money for the account or something along the lines. My friend decided to jerk around and bought, I kid you not, a constantly errect penis for his avatar. Turns out there's a place called pleasure isles. Guess what he was doing on second life his whole time. HAHA

"At the same time, speaking as someone who lost a relative to a serious drug addiction, it seems like the study has the possibility to harm the test subjects by tempting them to use again (provided, of course, that these individuals are trying to kick the habit in the first place)."

What an unbelievably asinine thing to say- if everyone thought like that, no study would ever take place to improve anything that is wrong with society or needs improving.

And yes, I've lost someone to drug addiction too; but I recognise that my feelings have absolutely jack-all to do with results and breakthroughs the -or any- study may provide.

Second Life still exists?

Wow, I'm falling behind!

People who play Second Life are fuckin' crazy. I know a guy and he lost his mind playing this. He never gets out anymore and he actually spends real money buying virtual clothes and whatnot for the game. Crazy I tell you.

Celtic_Kerr:

Kuchinawa212:

Ultratwinkie:

Kuchinawa212:
Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

second life's statistics regarding playtime is 5 minutes a month. i am not lying a second life user only plays for 5 minutes a MONTH.

hehe that solves that. Yeah I thought it was a fad. Used a lot for "this actually exsites on the internet! stuff but it's not really that big anymore kinda thing

My friend had to use it for school, and the teacher gave them a bunch of money for the account or something along the lines. My friend decided to jerk around and bought, I kid you not, a constantly errect penis for his avatar. Turns out there's a place called pleasure isles. Guess what he was doing on second life his whole time. HAHA

Umm alright. Thanks for sharing I guess. =\

Kuchinawa212:

Celtic_Kerr:

Kuchinawa212:

Ultratwinkie:

Kuchinawa212:
Alright I got to ask? Is the second life thing really that good? I hear a lot about it, but I figured it probably died off. But wow. It's still going

second life's statistics regarding playtime is 5 minutes a month. i am not lying a second life user only plays for 5 minutes a MONTH.

hehe that solves that. Yeah I thought it was a fad. Used a lot for "this actually exsites on the internet! stuff but it's not really that big anymore kinda thing

My friend had to use it for school, and the teacher gave them a bunch of money for the account or something along the lines. My friend decided to jerk around and bought, I kid you not, a constantly errect penis for his avatar. Turns out there's a place called pleasure isles. Guess what he was doing on second life his whole time. HAHA

Umm alright. Thanks for sharing I guess. =\

I love getting that reaction out of people, because it was my exact reaction when I found out. The world will feel my pain

 

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