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Virtually being Einstein results in an improvement in cognitive task performance and a decrease in age bias

Banakou, D; Kishore, S; Slater, M; (2018) Virtually being Einstein results in an improvement in cognitive task performance and a decrease in age bias. Frontiers in Psychology , 9 (917) 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00917. Green open access

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Abstract

The brain's body representation is amenable to rapid change, even though we tend to think of our bodies as relatively fixed and stable. For example, it has been shown that a life-sized body perceived in virtual reality as substituting the participant's real body, can be felt as if it were their own, and that the body type can induce perceptual, attitudinal and behavioral changes. Here we show that changes can also occur in cognitive processing and specifically, executive functioning. Fifteen male participants were embodied in a virtual body that signifies super-intelligence (Einstein) and 15 in a (Normal) virtual body of similar age to their own. The Einstein body participants performed better on a cognitive task than the Normal body, considering prior cognitive ability (IQ), with the improvement greatest for those with low self-esteem. Einstein embodiment also reduced implicit bias against older people. Hence virtual body ownership may additionally be used to enhance executive functioning.

Type: Article
Title: Virtually being Einstein results in an improvement in cognitive task performance and a decrease in age bias
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00917
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00917
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 Banakou, Kishore and Slater. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10051152
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