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Exploring and Modifying the Sense of Time in Virtual Environments

Start Date: 01-01-2019

End Date: 31-12-2022


CORDIS identification number: 824128

The sense of time co-constitutes our subjective experience and embodied self-consciousness. It refers to the dimensions of passage of time (time passing by) and structure of time (serial order of events). Both can be disturbed under psychopathological conditions and give rise to a variety of psychopathological symptoms. VIRTUALTIMES will for the first time (1) provide a personalized and neuroadaptive virtual reality technol-ogy enabling the systematic variation of time experience (“MetaChron”), based on (2) the rigorous study of the sense of time in different psychopathological conditions including depression, schizophrenia and autism, under special consideration of sex, and (3) neuroscientific measures that describe neural mechanisms which underlie our sense of time and validate both diagnostic differences and technological interventions. For that purpose, virtual reality scenarios and games will be developed from the starting point of the everyday sce-nario “waiting room”. We will systematically enrich the scenery both physically (objects) and socially (inter-action partners). In the realm of time-based interventions this will allow to manipulate passage of time (vary-ing velocity of time flow) and structure of time (varying synchronicity of events). VIRTUALTIMES (1) will provide “MetaChron” as diagnostic tool and innovative mental health technology that works in a highly in-dividualized, easy-access, and easy-to-use application, (2) will foster new technological developments in the field of human-computer-interaction to improve personal wellbeing and intercultural communication in a global world, and (3) will initiate a radical shift both in empirical approaches to and our understanding of the sense of time as basic constituent of human subjectivity. The market value lies in the availability of a professional VR- and game-based tool for prevention and therapy of psychopathological conditions.