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Being invisible affects bodily self-perception and social cognition, study finds


For those who deal with social anxiety disorders, feeling invisible, or the desire to be invisible are two things that are common. Out of practicality, for many individuals who suffer from varying levels of social anxiety – whether we’re talking about a fear of crowds, or a fear of speaking with people in a social setting – feel more comfortable when they are alone, or feel like they aren’t necessarily “present.” In fact, this has been the treatment method of choice for many years.

Doctors would prescribe medications that would ultimately make the recipient feel as though they’re less present. Obviously, those drugs work to correct chemical imbalances that exist, but the root of the work is there.

That’s where a new study comes into the conversation. The study looked at the way individuals would react to being “invisible,” or at the very least “feeling invisible.” While this might seem far fetched, the study found that those individuals who felt “invisible,” and suffered from some form of social anxiety – would likely have a better time coping with their illness and ultimately would make it easier for doctors to diagnose and treat. It would also give a lot of hope to that particular area of study.

Even more impressively, it was done in a very 2015-way. Using a virtual reality setup – the individuals were convinced, or at least their minds were – that they were invisible to those around them. Originally, this type of work appeared for those who suffered from a phantom limb syndrome. Now though, the impacts look like they will reach far beyond the confines or the scope that has been created already.

Interestingly, this is also something that would prove to be significantly more cost-effective than it previously was. For many, medication is a reason that individuals go without being diagnosed or treated. Taking that portion, or at least that cost out of the equation stands to have some remarkable impacts on the business itself.

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