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Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet
Psicologia Online

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nelle pagine dell'archivio si ritrova la storia di
Italian Journal of Psychology and Internet - Psicologia Online
ma anche la storia della psicologia italiana e mondiale in rete
dal 1996 al 2000
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giovedì 25 giugno 2009

Informed consent helping the mentally impaired in virtual worlds, as Second Life

A way of helping the mentally impaired to give informed medical consent

Informed consent and virtual worlds

The avatar will see you now

Jun 25th 2009 – From The Economist print edition

Imperial College Virtually painless

THAT people undergoing medical procedures should give their informed consent might seem simple and uncontentious. But what if a patient has a mental impairment and his doctor does not have time to ensure he understands the proposed treatment? Those who try to look after the interests of such people say that, in practice, hard-pressed hospital staff often ask leading questions and the “consent” obtained is thus far from informed.

A team of researchers led by Suzanne Conboy-Hill, a psychologist at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, England, reckon virtual environments could provide the solution. They are designing a virtual model of the hospital and, in October, it will receive its first “patients”—a group of 20 volunteers with learning disabilities who will visit it in order to find out what’s what and, in particular, to be talked through the sort of treatment they might be offered if they really were patients.

The hospital is being built in Second Life, an online world in which people participate in the form of virtual representatives known as avatars. In the case of those in the study, their digital alter egos will begin their journeys at a simulation of the Grace Eyre Foundation centre for adults with learning disabilities in Brighton, which they attend in real life. Local landmarks such as the town’s famous seaside pier will be used to help familiarise them with their surroundings before they arrive at a virtual version of the Royal Sussex.

This particular version of Brighton will, however, be based in London. It will be hosted in a private part of Imperial College’s virtual postgraduate medical school in SciLands, a dedicated science and technology Second Life continent populated by around 30 universities, government agencies and museums. Once inside the hospital, the avatars will be directed to a waiting room. Then a virtual nurse will take them to a bed, where they will lie down to have virtual blood taken. A Second Life doctor will explain that they are about to have an anaesthetic. Meanwhile, a real person alongside the participant will answer any questions and, after the virtual visit is over, Dr Conboy-Hill will carry out “non-directive” interviews, a technique used by the police to encourage witnesses to choose what they want to talk about and to maximise recall.

If these interviews suggest the participants understood what was going on well enough to give informed consent, then the researchers plan to carry out a larger study, comparing their simulation directly with the standard method of obtaining consent face to face. If it proves better, who knows, it might not only be the mentally impaired who find that virtual doctors are better at explaining things than real ones.

Imperial College London –

10 dicembre 2008

Respiratory Ward HUD in Second Life – Imperial College London

11 giugno 2009

The Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London has developed a region in Second Life that aims to design game-based learning activities for delivery of virtual patients. This video shows the Heads-Up Display (HUD) created to support the game-based learning activities. For more information about this project, please visit: Email:

Second Life Intralipid Lesson on Irc Italian Resuscitation Council Land

25 novembre 2008

Medicine education through virtual worlds: IRC Italian Resuscitation Council Intralipid Lesson: story of a success.

giugno 25th, 2009 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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