Our irrational fears are both very real and are also figments of our imagination. By manipulating what we think of as reality, researchers at Stanford University are working to understand the source of our anxieties and how to alleviate them. In order to do so, they built a virtual reality chamber where one’s fears can be generated by a computer. In 1984, the book, this was done in a special room as well, but with real objects of fear and for opposite reasons. The hope is that by being able to induce a state of fear we can better understand how are brains are built and how we decide to act challenging environments.

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Here’s video about the research showing off a few examples of the technology in action:

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