One of the most often heard complaints is how our society’s focus on technology reduces our social skills. It is certainly true the number of “socially awkward” individuals keeps increasing every year. However, it is possible these same technological developments can turn that situation around in the future. Virtual reality can play a big role in improving social cognition. After all, we learn to interact with environments in different ways.

Virtual Reality is a Blessing and Curse for Social Behavior

Every new type of technology has its potential and downsides. Virtual reality is no different in this regard by any means. It is a form of technology that allows us to shut out the rest of the world for as long as feel comfortable. Not just in the visual spectrum, but also due to the fact you need a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to drown out other noises. It is on paper, one of the most asocial activities one can perform, especially in the presence of others.

Escaping to the world of virtual reality sounds like a facilitator for social anxiety. It becomes easier to hide in a fictitious world to make us feel good about yourselves. This is a very real risk – sometimes referred to as an avaddiction – that needs to be taken into account at all times. At the same time, virtual reality technology allows us to look at social behavior in an entirely different manner from what we are used to.

In fact, one could argue virtual reality technology is an excellent way to enhance our social skills. We can enter a virtual world and explore new environments. It is not the same as physically visiting these places, which may force some people to spend more time outside. Additionally, virtual reality can pique our curiosity, which will further improve our social behavior. Our society has somewhat forgotten the art of curiosity and how it allows us to evolve as human beings.

It is easy to blame virtual reality and other technologies for inept social behavior. However, we would not flock to these solutions if our regular lives were far more enjoyable. Virtual reality can be the stepping stone a lot of people need to improve their quality of life in one way or another. It is not about just gaming by any means. VR is a social experiment that has a lot of untapped potential. Do not dismiss technology by only seeing the potential downsides of it. Ensure it can become a tool to improve people’s social lives.

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