Time travel to the past has always been believed impossible by physicists. However, today's virtual reality technology may be able to provide a loophole for it to become possible.
Researchers at the Advanced Virtuality Lab (AVL) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel focus on studying virtual, mixed and augmented reality as well as brain-computer interfaces. Doron Friedman, the director of the lab, revealed that his group is interested in behavioral realism, Singularity Hub reported.
Behavioral realism involves getting people to behave the same way in virtual reality as in the real world. This method makes it a lot easier to carry out studies on people through simulations of real-world experiences and makes VR one of the more powerful tools in the exploration of how humans might behave in alternate realities.
"The most interesting thing is making you behave realistically, but in worlds that are impossible," Friedman said. "Immersive VR can be like a metaphysical lab. Many things work like the real world but it also allows us to do things not possible in the real world."
In 2014, Friedman and his team collaborated with the University of Barcelona's Experimental Virtual Environments (EVENT) lab, which is run by Mel Slater. They tried to create an immersive virtual experience where participants can travel back in time.
The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology. The paper described how participants were virtually placed in an art gallery where they controlled an elevator that can transport visitors to an upper level.
However, one of the visitors shoots others as they arrived on the top floor. The study participants were then tasked to relive the experience. This time, they are faced with the dilemma of saving the other visitors.
While some only repeated the level as if they were playing a game, others were found to have increased feelings of guilt about the events. The study also revealed how some were able to boost their sense of their own morality.
The system is expected to be a powerful tool to help people overcome traumatic experiences. This can be a part of psychotherapy or to re-evaluate past decisions.