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Virtual reality game gets Pavlovian on crack addicts


Bless you classical conditioning, for without you we wouldn't have stories about virtual crack dens. A Duke University developed game is attempting virtual reality therapy for crack addicts hoping to break their addiction. Prof Zack Rosenthal states that the game takes people "into a virtual crack-related neighborhood or crack-related setting and have them experience cravings, just like they would in the real world." Rosenthal says cravings are a mental and learned behavior which the game attempts to quell.

Subjects will face in-game temptations and be required to rate their level of craving, after which the craving is expected to subside due to the game's inability to deliver a real fix. The therapist then ties the moment the craving subsides to a tone trigger, leading the addict to "associate the sound with the sensation of a decreased craving." Yup, it's all one giant virtual reality "Pavlov's Dog" simulator.

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