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Wijnand IJsselsteijn selected as Distinguished NIAS-Lorentz Fellow 2024/25

Wijnand IJsselsteijn

Distinguished NIAS Lorentz Fellow

Project title

Psychology and Ethics Of Progressively Lifelike Embodiments in the Metaverse (PEOPLE in the Metaverse)

Project description

Virtual reality and augmented reality, known together as eXtended Reality (XR), are now widely used at home, work, and school, offering immersive experiences. When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), XR creates realistic and personalized interactions. Avatars and environments become so lifelike that they are indistinguishable from real ones, making virtual experiences feel genuine and impactful on our real-world behaviors and attitudes.

XR also allows for deep personalisation through extensive tracking of user behavior, providing AI with detailed data for psychological profiling. Companies like Meta see XR as a powerful marketing tool, using this data to create persuasive and tailored experiences. For example, during a virtual political rally, your non-verbal cues could be analyzed to influence your emotions and preferences through techniques like increasing eye contact or mirroring your behavior.

Wijnand IJsselsteijn wants to unpack and analyse the psychological effects and ethical values at stake, and explore a number of innovative ways forward, including methods of psychological inoculation and digital health, ethical foresight analysis, and design interventions towards reflection-oriented user experiences.

Selected publications