Excerpt from "What Is Real": Tracking Implicit Memory Acquisition and the Implications of Virtual Reality.

Sophia Batchelor 5/17/2019

While academic theses should remain impartial and critical in order to contribute to their respective academic fields, we have a greater moral imperative. I come from Christchurch New Zealand where on February 22nd, 2011 a 6.3 magnitude earthquake decimated the city, and left its people to form the largest recorded population of medical refractory PTSD in the developed world. I started this thesis to find a baseline rate of memory acquisition in VR, as this had not been done previously, and is a vital part in the development of an effective treatment protocol for PTSD.

On March 15th, 2019, three blocks from where I went to school, a shooter armed with a live video stream and high powered assault rifles opened fire on two Mosques while they were in session. We have a moral imperative as members of humanity to leave the world a better place than when we found it, and I cannot present a limitations and implications section which details how we learn in a VR environment, without noting that VR environments are being used to train fighter pilots (Biggs et al., 2018; Judy, 2018) and soldiers (Bhagat, Liou, & Chang, 2016), into being better at their jobs. I cannot present an implications section without mentioning how there is a game titled “Six Days in Fallujah” that recreated Operation Vigilant Resolve: The Battle for Fallujah. A conflict which the Department of Defence called “some of the heaviest urban combat Marines have been involved in since Hue City in Vietnam in 1968” (Garamone, 2005).

VR has the potential to help my city. It could also train its next assailant.

© 2020 by Sophia Batchelor