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Can VR Replicate a Transcendental Psychedelic Experience?

Published 23 August 2022

2 min read

Isness-D is a VR experience designed for groups of four or five people, either in the same physical space or different one. After putting on a headset, individuals perceive an aura of coloured light around themselves and see these emanating from other participants. The hues intensify as people move and overlap their auras with others’. As their paths cross, their unique auras merge into one. When they move away from each other, the participants see that their auras have become the same colour.

This visualisation is intended to mimic the experience of energetic coalescence, or when people feel their sense of self diminish in the face of connection to a larger life force. Such ego dissolution can be instilled by a moderate dose of LSD or psilocybin. Proving that Glowacki’s VR experience has transcendental effects, a study comparing the reality’s reported effects with the psychedelics’ impact (both using a research-based questionnaire) showed virtually indistinguishable responses.

While there are many types of self-transcendent experiences (getting lost in a book can be considered a light-touch version), the similarities between psychedelics and Glowacki’s project suggest that VR could provide a safe route for people who are curious about the trending category.

It’s also notable that the reality is designed as a communal experience (a VR category growing in popularity, as Stylus has reported), enabling participants to share their reflections once the headset comes off and avoid the post-trip assimilation difficulties that can come with psychedelics.

 

Stylus members have access to more, full-length reporting. Get in touch to speak to someone from our team who can talk you through how a Stylus membership can help your brand harness this insight – and more.  

Isness-D is a VR experience designed for groups of four or five people, either in the same physical space or different one. After putting on a headset, individuals perceive an aura of coloured light around themselves and see these emanating from other participants. The hues intensify as people move and overlap their auras with others’. As their paths cross, their unique auras merge into one. When they move away from each other, the participants see that their auras have become the same colour.

This visualisation is intended to mimic the experience of energetic coalescence, or when people feel their sense of self diminish in the face of connection to a larger life force. Such ego dissolution can be instilled by a moderate dose of LSD or psilocybin. Proving that Glowacki’s VR experience has transcendental effects, a study comparing the reality’s reported effects with the psychedelics’ impact (both using a research-based questionnaire) showed virtually indistinguishable responses.

While there are many types of self-transcendent experiences (getting lost in a book can be considered a light-touch version), the similarities between psychedelics and Glowacki’s project suggest that VR could provide a safe route for people who are curious about the trending category.

It’s also notable that the reality is designed as a communal experience (a VR category growing in popularity, as Stylus has reported), enabling participants to share their reflections once the headset comes off and avoid the post-trip assimilation difficulties that can come with psychedelics.

 

Stylus members have access to more, full-length reporting. Get in touch to speak to someone from our team who can talk you through how a Stylus membership can help your brand harness this insight – and more.