Can Virtual Reality Help Treat Pedophiles?
Imagine a man with pedophilic urges sitting in a lab with a virtual-reality headset on, wires from a computer running through the fly of his pants to an unseen device. Visible, both to him and to researchers sitting at monitors nearby, is a realistically rendered playground with a little boy on a swing. The boy approaches the pedophile and shyly introduces himself. Both the man immersed in the simulation and the researchers, who are recording his physiological responses to the virtual child, know the next few moments are key. How will he respond to this temptation? This may seem like a strange, menacing scene from a Philip K. Dick novel, but some researchers believe virtual reality could become a standard tool for diagnosing — and potentially treating — pedophiles. ….[READ]