Saturday, August 25, 2007

Virtual worlds modeling social theories

Click on the title to this post to read a Boston Globe article about scientists studying two plagues in two separate virtual worlds. Creators of The World of Warcraft intentionally created a virus to infect players who got to a high level to reduce their ability to beat a major character. But the players carried the disease around the World of Warcraft and unintentionally modeled a plague, called Corrupted Blood. In another world, Whyville, players were recruited for an experiment. In both cases, scientists learned from watching the avatars' responses. Now a social scientist at Indiana U. is planning to launch a virtual world with the purpose of modeling social science and political science theories.

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