Providing Transformative ‘Exceptional Human Experiences’ in undergraduate Psychology teaching

OKeeffe, Ciaran, Thompson, Kristin, Smith, Matthew D. and Cseh, Genevieve M. (2019) Providing Transformative ‘Exceptional Human Experiences’ in undergraduate Psychology teaching. In: VR Conference 2018, 12th September 2018, Swansea University.

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This past year, staff in our department brought together their respective research expertise - Transpersonal Psychology; Positive Psychology; Jungian Psychology; and Parapsychology – to create a new options module, critically exploring a range of ‘exceptional’ human experiences (EHEs) not customarily explored in psychology courses. Such experiences encompass various altered states of consciousness, including flow, paranormal, spiritual, and synchronistic experiences, often described as ‘transformative’ in their nature. The development of the module coincided with the department’s purchase of the HTC Vive and an opportunity for a Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) approach. Students were offered the opportunity to experience a virtual EHE for themselves; such experiences included a space-walk, standing on top of Everest or the surface of another planet, deep-sea diving, zen-like environments, or any experience chosen by the student that reflected their personal ambitions or passions. The presentation, then, covers the utility of VR to enable psychology students to explore conceptually challenging ideas. It discusses the importance of creating a ‘safe’ environment especially within a module where students anticipate a perceptual shift. Given some physiological changes experienced with the VR-based EHEs, one of the proposed future directions is the capture of positive physiological data. The common outcome for some students, and staff, however, has been the realisation that simply being in a VR environment has itself been the transformative EHE.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Keywords: Experience, Transformative, EHE, Psychology.
Depositing User: RED Unit Admin
Date Deposited: 29 May 2019 10:12
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 11:14

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