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The stigma and challenges of online dating can often hinder people from trying it out. Between the focus on physical appearances, awkward text exchanges, and exaggerations about goals and dreams, online dating can be an uncomfortable and unfulfilling experience.

A recent Psychology Today article examined whether recent advances in Virtual Reality (VR) might be a better alternative to online or even in person dating.

One obvious advantage the author points out is that VR provides an amplified sensory experience. Life-like expressive avatars not only provide a true feeling of presence with a dating partner but also take away inhibitions and preconceptions tied to physical appearance. As technology advances, epidermal VR, the ability to mimic the sensation of touching another person, could add another enhanced sense of connection not possible through current online platforms.

The ability to personalize avatars to be something other than realistic can also lead to self-expression, exploration, and connection that might not otherwise occur. “Rather than being deceptive, avatars could be part of the fun of VR dating. With avatars, people could choose to be realistic about how they look, or they could experiment; for example, by traveling across time to go on dates as younger or older versions of themselves.” 

Another advantage to using this VR technology is that the locations that you can travel to are endless. “You could jump out of a plane, journey to outer space, or dive underwater for a scuba diving expedition, all in an evening.” The author points out that more exhilarating dating experiences in VR could actually lead to ‘excitation transfer,’ the phenomenon where people “misattribute the arousal they feel from doing something exhilarating to those around them.”

Lastly, the author points out that VR dating provides the opportunity to practice and improve interpersonal skills whether those are applied in the real world or they stay in VR. By practicing real life dating scenarios with a coach or even having an ‘invisible ghost’ coach available during an actual date, “those who struggle to navigate social situations on their own” could benefit from guidance generally not available from online platforms.

Foretell Reality is a social virtual reality platform that supports many different types of avatars with varying degrees of realism and expression for different use cases involving remote interpersonal communication.

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