VR Disassociation: The Other Side Effect of VR

While the majority of people in the industry and media are focusing on the potentially nauseating effects of VR, we found there to be a more interesting side-effect to VR, what we call VR disassociation.

The other day, Shitkicker and I were recording for one of our YouTube videos and found that he felt “his hands felt offset” or the the world seemed fake for a short period of time. After looking into it, we found that there were sources researching into the fact that exposure to VR depending on the person can have varying levels of disassociation to objective reality. Naturally, when you’re in VR, the HMD’s are made to block outside perception of sight and sound and replace them with outputs from the HMD.

The research below showed the expected jump in dissociation with reality during the experience, which is expected as that’s what they’re selling, but more interesting was the side effects that followed afterwards. For select users, there was a continued sense of disassociation to reality even after the VR experience.


Even with Redditors, it seems that this “VR Hangover” is real, but only affects users in their early experiences with VR and continued exposure to VR doesn’t cause the hangover to return. Similar with Shitkicker’s case as well.


All in all, it does seem that new users do have a bit of adjusting and the experience can be more impactful in positive and negative ways depending on the individual. With that in mind, make sure that if you’re demoing for new friends and family, that they have your support to adjust and be mindful this sense of disassociation might be overwhelming for some as you demo for newbies.

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