Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Virtual Superheroes: Using Superpowers in Virtual Reality to Encourage Prosocial Behavior


Figure 1. Participant flying in VR.  This figure shows: (A) The labels the Head Mounted Display, which renders the virtual world on two screens, one for each of the participant’s eyes; (B) The optical tracking markers are labeled. One marker is placed on the participant’s head and two are placed in the participant’s hands. These markers track X,Y, Z position; When the participant raises her hands above her head, she flies higher in the virtual city; (C) One of the eight motion-capture cameras that track the optical marks; and (D) The orientation tracker for head rotation.     doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055003.g001


From the summary at Full Text Reports


Recent studies have shown that playing prosocial video games leads to greater subsequent prosocial behavior in the real world. However, immersive virtual reality allows people to occupy avatars that are different from them in a perceptually realistic manner. We examine how occupying an avatar with the superhero ability to fly increases helping behavior.

Principal Findings

Using a two-by-two design, participants were either given the power of flight (their arm movements were tracked to control their flight akin to Superman’s flying ability) or rode as a passenger in a helicopter, and were assigned one of two tasks, either to help find a missing diabetic child in need of insulin or to tour a virtual city. Participants in the “super-flight” conditions helped the experimenter pick up spilled pens after their virtual experience significantly more than those who were virtual passengers in a helicopter.


The results indicate that having the “superpower” of flight leads to greater helping behavior in the real world, regardless of how participants used that power. A possible mechanism for this result is that having the power of flight primed concepts and prototypes associated with superheroes (e.g., Superman). This research illustrates the potential of using experiences in virtual reality technology to increase prosocial behavior in the physical world.

February 1, 2013 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

Augmented Reality – A tool for radiologists and other healthcare professionals

Came across a new concept today – Augmented reality. It isthe superimposing of sensory input (as sound or graphics) with a view of the real world. Some informative links including expanded definitions, examples, and news can be found below the video. Thinking of the many,many possible medical applications, as emergency personnel checking for broken bones, health care workers in developing countries doing preliminary diagnoses in the field, and some medical diagnoses done in the home by visiting nurses…



One of  Dr. Bertalan Meskó’s  12 Predictions in Healthcare, Technology and Innovation for 2012 is

3) Augmented reality in radiology. Augmented reality has been a major issue for some time, but seeing the video below made it clear for me, this is where we are going to head in 2012. Doctors can see through patients.


Related Web sites on how augmented reality works, how it is currently used (applications) and its limitiations


Augmented Reality ( with definition, examples (as that yellow first down line in televised football games)

How Augmented Reality Works (How Stuff Works blog post) includes an intro (with how it differs from virtual reality) cell phone applications, adaptation by the the military, limitations, and sources of information

Augmented Reality (Mashup) gives links to current news items about industry trends, specific products, and applications





January 1, 2012 Posted by | health care | , | 1 Comment

Why Did I Come In Here? How Walking Through Doorways Makes Us Forget

From the 20 November Medical News Today article

“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away.”

“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized,” he added.

Read the entire news article here

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Psychology | , | Leave a comment


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