Ron-Angevin and Diaz-Estrella recently conducted a training session using untrained subjects to test whether they made more errors in a conventional (read: boring) training environment manipulating a 2-D horizontal bar or in a virtual reality environment while attempting to drive a car. In both environments, the subjects could only make responses by visualizing moving their right or left hands.
Once feedback was enabled in both systems (after a few seconds), the virtual reality system led to significantly less error than the conventional system. The subjects reported being more engaged in the virtual reality game and there is strong evidence to suggest that they were focused on dodging the obstacles.
This study has applications in a surspising number of settings. Subjects respond well when presented with challenging, life-like environments that have feedback mechanisms built in. When building brain-computer interfaces, it is essential to include such a training environment.
The real question is, does this study lend any more evidence to the startling conclusion that we are living in a computer simulation?
Ron-Angevin R Diaz-Estrella A. 2008 Brain–computer interface: Changes in performance using virtual reality technique. Neuroscience Letters 449: 123-127. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2008.10.099.