A psychological experiment was conducted in an EVENT lab of the University of Barcelona by Sofia Adelaide Osimo in which she studied how the illusion of being in another body affects our perception. With the help of volunteers Osimo’s team managed to create the illusion of being in someone else’s body by using Virtual Reality. Participants wore a VR device with special sensors to create an immersive Virtual Reality. Scientists built a virtual room where a duplicate of the subject and Sigmund Freud were present. The movement of the subject was perfectly synchronized with the avatars so they can create an illusion of embodiment.
In the first phase, volunteers were asked to embody their duplicate and think about an unsolvable psychological problem they were facing. Afterwards, they embodied Sigmund Freud and gave themselves the answer to their problem. To make the subjects really think they are Sigmund Freud they did alter the voice while having the illusion of the famous founder of psychoanalysis. In another session, the subject had to give an answer to their psychological problem by being themselves, stimulating conversations we have in our heads.
In the second phase, subjects were not perfectly synced with their avatars so the illusion of being someone else was impossible to create. Based on the first phase, scientists discovered that subjects gave themselves more effective advice when they had the illusion they were Sigmund Freud rather than when they were themselves.
The volunteers who participated, described that they felt like being inside psychological screenplays or other bizarre movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” or “The Orchid Thief “. Osimo proved that by having the illusion of being a more experienced person our minds start working differently. The cognitive processes we use to find solutions to various problems are being enhanced as our mind is tricked into thinking we are in someone else’s body.