In practice there should be no difference between fooling your mind that you are in a different body via a mannequin in a lab and the same experience in a computer constructed world, simulation, or game:
Out of Body Experiences
Exploring out-of-body experiences: interview with Henrik Ehrsson
Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) have fascinated people for millennia – their existence has raised fundamental questions about the relationship between human consciousness and the body, and has been much discussed in theology, philosophy and psychology. An OBE occurs when a person who is awake sees his or her own body from a location outside the physical body. OBEs have been reported in clinical conditions where brain function is compromised, such as stroke, epilepsy and drug abuse, or in association with traumatic experiences such as car accidents. Around one in ten people claim to have had an OBE at some point in their lives.
However, the neuroscience behind this phenomenon remains obscure. Henrik Ehrsson, a 38-year-old cognitive neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institutew1 in Stockholm, Sweden, investigates how the brain represents the self, and has induced the phenomenon of OBE in healthy volunteers for the first time. He recreated an illusion in which individuals look at themselves from outside their physical bodies.
The volunteers wear goggles with a video screen for each eye. Each screen is fed with images from a separate camera behind the volunteer and, because the two images are combined by the brain into a single image, the individual sees a stereoscopic (3D) image of his or her own back. We then move a plastic rod towards a location just below the cameras while the volunteer’s chest is simultaneously touched in the corresponding position. The participants reported feeling that they are located back where the cameras are placed, watching a body that belongs to someone else.
I anticipate that with the arrival of true fully immersive virtual reality (FIVR), there will be a mini-epidemic of psychiatric decompensations and psychoses where people who have insecure ego boundaries panic at feeling uncertain about the return to their own bodies. Perhaps I am wrong and our connection to our bodies is more consistent, adhesive, and specific than these experiments and OBEs suggest, but I have seen enough derealization and depersonalization in my career to anticipate problems. Whether this will then limit the availability of FIVR is a political question; I doubt even the most hysterical politicians will be able to hold it off for long since the value of FIVR for business, gaming, and, of course, sexual and other entertainment, will be immense.