How could one write an abstract for a psychology class on the subject of "My Virtual Child?"

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The abstract is often the last part of a research paper to be written, as it exists for the purpose of briefly summarizing the contents of the rest of the paper, including the findings or conclusions.  It is distinct from a research proposal, which precludes much of the research and almost all of the writing of the paper.  An abstract on the subject of “My Virtual Child,” therefore would need to include the purpose of the exercise, the methodology used in executing it, and the findings.  Preparing an abstract prior to conducting research or even fully conceptualizing the topic, therefore, would be a little impractical.  To the extent an abstract, as opposed to a research proposal, is required upfront, however, than one has to and apply that knowledge which has been attained up to this point and employ one’s imagination to develop a summary that predetermines the project’s outcome.

Virtual reality, of course, involves the use of computers (discussed in essays the links for which are attached below) to simulate the real or imaginary worlds.  Within the realm of medical research and training, virtual reality is used to simulate the interaction of systems within the human body and of external substances inserted into one or more of those systems.  Virtual reality is also used to create realistic environments in which one can be expected to be immersed for the purpose of learning how to function in those environments.  Creation of a “virtual child” – absent additional information on the intended purpose – can be used to study the effects on a “child” of certain external stimuli, or it can be used to allow one to practice how one would respond to a child’s needs and behavior without using an actual child.  Given the complexities and uniqueness of the human brain, it would be extraordinarily difficult to simulate how a child’s brain would respond to external stimuli, so it is difficult to imagine how such a virtual reality program would function.  With respect to simulating the process of caring for a child, the potential for the application of virtual reality is greater, depending upon the sophistication of the computer technology involved.  After all, while computer-generated images have come a long way, the line is still drawn on human behavior that is a function of the brain, especially the underdeveloped child’s brain.

An abstract on “My Virtual Child,” therefore, would need to define the precise purpose of the exercise:  what is the intended purpose of the “child?”  Is it to interact with a computer-simulated human being?  Is it to study the effects of external stimuli, for example, various atmospheric conditions on the child’s behavior, or the effects of pharmaceutical substances on the child’s brain?  Without knowing this, writing an abstract is not feasible.