© 2019 by Sophia Batchelor 

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).

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