Calm reality

I was talking today with somebody who works with people who have various kinds of ASD. She was describing how walking around in an urban environment can be difficult for people on the spectrum.

Perhaps a good way to think about it is as an I/O problem. Signals from reality — such things, as bright lights, sudden noises and rapid movement — can be processed by most people without causing a crisis.

But it your brain is wired to process input differently, then those same signals can be overwhelming. They tend to dominate your experience of a situation, making everything more difficult.

For this reason, many people on the spectrum enjoy hanging out in virtual worlds, such as Second Life. You are still interacting with people and enjoying their company, but you can place a more comfortable and manageable filter on the sensory experience itself.

This made me think of my own experiments in creating a parallel version of our lab that maps one-to-one to the physical lab. While our lab has many visual distractors — like junk piled on desks and lighting in all sorts of odd places — my parallel virtual version can be very visually clean and calming.

In wonder whether the sensation of walking around in the physical world will become easier for people on the spectrum in a few years. You just put on your extended reality glasses in the morning, dial down the noise in your visual field to a comfortable level before leaving the house, and you’re good to go.

2 Responses to “Calm reality”

  1. thibault says:

    I’m wishing for the reverse effect : peoples living in a vivid yet minimalist reality and putting their glasses on to see their favored junks all over the place :)

  2. admin says:

    Whatever makes you happy! :-)

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