This is the first in a 3-part series outlining helpful Vocabulary and Reference points to understand Virtual Reality and Mental Health.
Collectively I refer to these as Consciousness-Modifying Technology.
Vocabulary can give insight into what’s happening and methods currently employed to modify behavior. Relevant wikipedia pages are linked for convenience, and I'll be posting a PDF or presentation diagraming this soon too.
If Syntax is the appropriate way of writing computer code, then using natural language, terms, symbols to represent cognitive objects and processes is the way to program our every-day actions.
Any System needs the following to exist:
A Being: (‘Physical being’ or physical location within the Environment.)
A Program (At a minimum to identify ‘Self’ and ‘Other’ within the Environment.)
In the Human Biological System these are:
Environment: The space outside our human body, and/or the perceived space
Body: The physical entity within the environment. Our meat-sack. The body is most often associated as the ‘being’ or self for humans.
Program: The ‘I’ in a statement such as ‘I want to do this.’ (The 'I' can be greater than this, but we'll keep it simple here.)
Input: Any stimulus, either internally generated or externally, biological, physical, or thought-form.
Output: Any response or biological activity is an ‘Output’ of the human biological system.
First Category, The Environment:
Our first words are about the environment of a virtual or real system. And, as this focus is about Virtual Reality, we'll start here.
X is the ‘fill in the blank’ Reality. X can be replaced with ‘Virtual, Augmented, Mixed, or whatever kind you’d like to include.
An immersive environment primarily closed off to external stimuli in the ‘normal’ every day world. Its a closed visual system, with no external visuals available.
Like VR, but with a lens into the real world, and ability for the real world to be changed by the user and software. AR does not require a headset, and can currently be applied to many smart-phones with live-video feed abilities.
Its how we humans (or other machines, or other machines operated by humans, interface and actually give commands to the computer system, Virtual reality system, etc. The User-Interface for a real world journal may be a pencil and your writing hand and arm. The User-interface for VR can be voice, hands, sensor pads, motion-tracked controllers, etc.
The discipline of designing ways humans interact with computers, and in this case, a Spatial Computing environment (VR).
The process of navigating a user down a particular path either to accomplish a specific goal or set of goals, or to achieve a particular experience.
A computer-generated being living in a piece of software that represents a person in real-life.
A set of implied or realistic limits of a system. In Virtual Reality, visual and physical constraints are often placed to keep the user in a familiar enough space to have a functional experience. For example, constraining the player area so the player doesn’t walk into walls or chairs while they are physically moving around in the virtual environment. Constraints can also be constraints on what the user can do with sound, interaction, and other software implied realities.
Room-Scale (in VR)
In virtual reality, when the software simulation is the same scale as a real-world environment the user is accustomed to.
Physics (In VR)
The movement of objects in the virtual environment can be modified to move at differing speeds, with apparent different weights, and differing gravitational vectors.
The process of generating images on a screen or set of screens based upon where a user is looking. This can assist in lowering processing requirement for rendering Virtual Environments.
Anything that one can take with them, and more colloquially, devices that people often have with them, such as their phone, or watch.
Earrings, watches, jewelry, anything that one wears, and also collects data, or sends data.
Lenses worn across the eyes.
Any additional computer hardware device that can interface with a computer, human, or both. For example, many biosensors are collecting data and feeding it into other computers.
Measuring and Quantifying Human Biological Activities
The physical organ that is housed in our bodies, in our heads. ‘Brain’ refers to the organ, not Mind, which is an effect of the Brain and other systems.
An electrical signal or cluster of signals emitted by the brain and its composite cells (neurons) which can be measured by various instruments such as EEGs. Also called Neural Oscillation.
A snapshot of a frequency a brain or section of a brain is emitting at a given time. Often these states are consistent, and can be trained to be more consistent over time. Brainwave states indicate levels of consciousness, and often vary depending on age of the human being monitored. For example, children under the age of 5 tend to spend more time emitting delta brainwaves, even when in apparent waking consciousness.
Number of waves that pass by a stationary point in a second, or other unit of time. For example, One Hertz (Hz) is 60 beats per second.
Relation to Brainwaves There are 6 commonly agreed-upon ranges:
Delta wave – (0.1 – 3 Hz)
Theta wave – (4 – 7 Hz)
Alpha wave – (8 – 12.5 Hz)
Mu wave – (7.5 – 12.5 Hz)
Beta wave – (12.5 – 30 Hz)
Gamma wave – (32 – 100 Hz)
Delta is our ‘slowest’ range of waves. Often associated with sleep.
Next higher level range of waves often associated with dreaming and ‘spacyness.’ Theta occurs in the cortex, and, most commonly in mammals is associated with the hippocampus.
Often associated with ‘wakeful relaxation’ in humans. Only appear in longer time-periods after the age of 3. Many Alpha waves are thought to be generated by the Occipital lobe of the brain, unless they are coming from the motor cortex when they are referred to as Mu waves. Mu waves interestingly are reduced when a user either moves, or even thinks about moving.
Beta Brain Wave States:
Often the beta brain wave states are associated with normal waking ‘consciousness.’ They range from 12. Hz to 30 Hz. They can be split into three sections.
Low Beta (12.5 - 16 Hz)
Normal Beta (16.5 - 20 Hz)
High Beta (20.5 - 28 Hz)
Often this state is associated with ‘Oneness’ or unification with all living and non-living things. Most common ranges for this state are at 40 Hz. People often report feeling ecstasy at these stages of brainwaves.
The process of taking incoming signals from the eyes, rendering them in the visual cortex region of the brain, and then interpreting those signals to create a model of the environment.
Region of the brain known to process incoming signals from the eyes.
Circular orbs which can take light energy in from the environment and translate it to electrical signals which are then interpreted by the brain and mind.
Chemical agents used to stimulate neural pathways, cascades, emotional and physiological responses. Some of the most common ones related to neuroscience and mental health are: Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA).
Philosophical Concepts and Framework
A relatively recent English word used to describe the set of experiences and thought living beings such as humans have at any given moment or across a ‘lifetime’
Thought is the process of analysis and comprehension. It is a way of perceiving the world assuming past experiences are repeatable in some way and we can therefore predict they will occur again. It is classically associated with ‘linear thought’ meaning best represented by Boolean logic: If/Then/And/Or.
An untouchable, and largely un-materialized form of consciousness which enables Humans to communicate, predict, and form abstract thought.
A freudian term used to describe a level of consciousness which is not normally accessible to the every-day waking state in most people. Often referred to as the ‘unconscious mind’ and frequently thought to exist in dream states. Its a relatively new term, and a relatively new framework of understanding human thought.
Feeling is associated with emotion and with physical sensations. Feeling can be either and both. In the physical sense, feeling is one of the 5 (or 6) senses we have to receive information from measurable nerve responses.
In the emotional way, feeling is a classified (good, bad, desired, non-desired) way of perceiving experiences either internal or externally initiated.
The belief that computers can behave like humans.
Study of Symbols and their meanings to humans.
Symbiology (Consider making a wikipedia page about this word).
I coined this word. Its the intersection of symbols and biology. Our human mind operates as a symbolic system. Those symbols (cognitive objects) are the programming language that runs our being. Because we are both mind and matter, Symbiology is the study of how mind and its corresponding symbolic systems affect our biological systems.
The belief that the psyche and body are inextricably linked, in a feedback loop. So, experiences (thoughts/emotions/physical stimuli) that a human has also impact that human’s belief structure, pain-sensors, mobility, and sense of identity.
The set of assumptions a culture holds to be valid and true. Often these are based on repetition of seeing them to be true in the culture, and passed down from generation to generation within a culture.
A set of beliefs and assumptions which is not in agreement with the current population’s average set of assumptions and beliefs.
A set of beliefs repeated enough for an entire population (culture) of people to believe as true and valid. This becomes a mind-set.
The ability to choose between multiple options. Also related to Agency. Choice can be between two possibilities, or between many. Many people have difficulty making choices when many options exist, unless those choices are rooted in some firm values or previously verified truths.
Freedom (in context of choice)
The ability to choose one’s actions, monitor one’s thoughts, and have choice, or believe one has choice.
The complete attention of one’s consciousness upon a single object, process, image, challenge, etc.
The permissions and restrictions relating to information and knowledge of an individuals activities, thoughts, and wishes.
The belief that one’s body and their sense of self is distinct and different than others.
The belief that truth can be known by multiple, and that there is a universal truth associated with all conscious beings.
The belief that truth is relative to the consciousness perceiving the object or thought.
The belief that truth is not absolute, but rather can be changed depending on one’s perspective.
A state of consciousness similar to that of ‘one-ness’ but rather maintained at the same time as individuality. An operating state where one can hold both a sense of connection to universal life and also a sense of individuality.
An experience of total dissolving of ‘self’ and belief that one’s experience is universal completely connected to everything in the universe.
Modifying The Program:
Mind Programming Language
The ability to interact and have control over one’s environment. Belief that one has a say in how things turn out. Sense of control.
Emotion is the learned physiological response to internal or external stimuli. Emotion is a named sensation which many humans frequently believe they have no direction over or impact on. (Agency)
The science of how the brain and mind are moldable and shapable across an organism’s entire life-time. Not ‘locked down’ but the old dog can actually learn new tricks, and there are tricks to teaching the old dog tricks. Neural Plasticity studies how the brain learns and shapes connections as it ages and learns novel concepts and information.
Neurons or neural clusters assumed to be responsible for mimicry. One of the ways humans learn is to mimic other animals actions, especially our human counterparts.
The process of using challenges, levels, curiosity and rewards to guide user behavior to specific outcomes.
The specific procedures and methods used to guide users using gamification.
An established method of inducing a subject/user/person to believe they are on a path that makes them feel ‘good’, often with the release of certain neurotransmitters.
A state of curiosity where a human is actively engaging with content or other humans to create, challenge, and generally enjoy themselves. In Neural Plasticity, Play is an area where novel application of knowledge can be applied, and therefore valued and remembered more deeply.
Love is a word our culture typically applies to romance, and, its a state of openness which can really enable
A state of emotional and physiological being often associated with anxiety, insomnia and physical constriction. Fear is one of the ways humans can be programmed hypnotically.
This is an experience by humans where they feel totally connected with everything. Also called the “God” state.
Hypnosis / Trance Induction
A set of methods intentionally employed in a guided session to induce specific states of consciousness by systematically ‘shutting down’ or ‘taking off-line’ various cognitive systems, such as rational thought, vision, motor movement, etc. Hypnosis is often employed to help humans remove / reprogram harmful, uncomfortable or obsessive beliefs.
A test sequence employed by a hypnotist to determine if specific hypnosis methods will disable intended cognitive functions in the subject.
A story, allegory or concept used to describe another story or experience. Often requires a cognitive leap to make the connection. Metaphors are frequently used to apply a ‘root’ or foundational cognitive object to a set of experiences and cognitive processes.
In hypnosis, a programatic cognitive association intended to become ‘real’ for the subject. Upon repetition of a suggestion, subjects may begin to believe the suggestion is true.
The belief and study of how thoughts and external stimuli can ‘turn on’ dormant genes. More specifically, that a new experience, thought, emotion, etc, can regulate whether a gene expresses itself as a protein or system of protiens, thus impacting the organisms (like you or me) physiological composition.
The study of how cultures have evolved to hold certain belief structures, customs, and habits of operation over time.
The belief that a mind can be ‘programed’ like a computer can to run certain ‘programs.’
An object, thought, symbol, concept, process, etc in the mind. It can be composed of multiple objects, and/or processes.
An association of two or more cognitive objects.
A specific association of two or more cognitive objects which is tautological, or circular. Also known as a feedback loop.
States of ‘Plasticity’ or flexibility of Neural Programming. This is an evolving term, one that assumes the brain and mind are more open to receiving programming (new cognitive associations) in certain states. Current research shows Four states open a human up to being programable: Trance, Love, Play, and Fear. Basically, Humans are more receptive to deeper programming when defenses are massively up, deactivated, or massively down.
Research shows brainwave states are trainable. Certain audio frequencies (Binaural Beats) entrain brain-waves, as do thought patterns, meditation, hypnosis.
A state of brainwave harmony, where multiple regions of the brain are exhibiting the same frequency of brainwaves. Often related to trance-like and/or euphoric states of being.
The process of assimilating new information, experiences, and belief structures into the ‘older’ or previously held beliefs.
Biological Output Measurement
Measurement of life-data. Usually referred to as vital signs on a human in the context of monitoring human health.
Now called Electrodermal activity. This is the general principle that enables EEGs, EKGs and other biosensing devices to collect information on how the body is functioning physiologically.
The degree to which electricity can pass from one location to another across a conducting substrate.
Using a machine to track where the eyes are focused, and then mapping that information to the computer program. For example Fovic Focus only renders parts of the image in a 3D environment in high-deffiniition that the user is looking at, which cuts down on processor load. Another application is the analysis of what a user is interested in, and/// in hacking, one can monitor a users’ eye movements who is successful at completing a certain task, such as completing a video game, entraining a sequence of brain-waves, and then prompt another user to do the same. The user will then have a higher probability of having a similar or the same outcome as the other user.
Electro Kardo Gram. This device measures heart rate using electrical signals.
Electro Encephelogram. This device measures brain-wave activity based on electrical signals available.
Biological Input Generation and Modulation
A process of emitting magnetic pulses around the cranium, directed into the brain at specific regions. IT can be used to stimulate or shut down various regions of the brain, for example sensory or motor-cortex regions which can cause involuntary motion or senses on subjects. Kind of like when the doctor taps your knee and and you have a big kick. A magnet taps your brain and your nervous system responds with a kick.
A process of emitting electrical current across the cranium. Often its used in conjunction with galvanic skin response. This procedure can be used to entrain certain brain-wave functions, activate, or de-activate various parts of the brain.
The use of sound and/or vibration to produce states of healing. Often associated with ‘sound healing.’
A sequence of sounds often put into music which can entrain brainwaves to elicit certain states, such as gamma, alpha, theta, beta, etc.
Digiceuticles (Technology prescriptions)
A software or game which is believed to alter neurochemistry and behavior in a lasting way. Often for therapeutic uses.
The field of creating and/or modifying biological systems either using simple molecules or existing life-structures.