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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2008

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 4(1)


Peer Editors: Danielle Wallis and Daniel Woznica; Faculty Mentor: John R. Bowen

This study examines the therapeutic utility of 3D Massively Multi-User Virtual Environments (MMVE’s), specifically Second Life®, for convalescent and chronically ill users. Wheelies, a disability themed nightclub is one of the three major therapy-related simulations within Second Life examined from within a larger study. This work focuses on one of five case studies representative of virtual therapy. Two significant results surfaced through examining the space and its users: a new form of complimentary therapy and a relationship between “virtual” and “real” well-being has been established. The first point explores how virtual worlds provide therapy forms outside of traditional and formalized settings with a medical professional or facilitator. The second point considers how virtual activities and therapies intersect with “real” physical and emotional reactions. This research sheds light on a new frontier of therapeutic activities that facilitate a psychological and physical rehabilitative process through the social virtual environment Second Life.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 4, Issue 1, Fall 2008. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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