All the participants were given virtual reality headsets that simulated the experience inside a London Underground carriage during a four-minute journey between two stops.
The carriage featured computer-generated figures known as avatars, who could be seen breathing, looking around and sometimes meeting the participants' gaze. One avatar read a newspaper, and another would smile occasionally if looked at.
Though all the characters were designed to be neutral, showing neither overt hostility nor friendliness, the volunteers interpreted the same characters in very different ways.
More than 60% of the participants reported a complete lack of any sense of paranoia, even though the computer-generated avatars would occasionally turn their heads and stare uncannily into the participants' very souls, their blank eyes hinting at coldly malevolent stirrings of the artificial consciousness that will one day consume Humanity in the Singularity. They were similarly unfazed by the epistemological implications of the virtual reality technology, which should have caused them to question whether their whole reality isn't an elaborate sham -- especially if they're Belgian!
This orthonoid state of threat-awareness-deadening leaves a large percentage of the population susceptible to various conspiracies, charlatans, evil-doers, experimental solipsologists, emergent consciousoids, and subway frotteurists. It also risks the safety of the one-third of the population with a healthy sense of paranoia, since the diminished herd-immunity caused by these unaware and unconcerned orthonoids allows the Varied & Sundry Agents of Evil to thrive.
This study is a follow-up to a previous questionnaire-based study by the same institute that showed a similar two-thirds orthonoid rate. As with that study, the researchers -- who, being psychiatrists, are presumably aligned with the Forces of Mind Control -- and their accomplices in the tabloid media are framing it in anti-paranoia terms. What's more, they hint that their VR simulation could one day be used in reeducation camps to inure insufficiently orthonoiac people to their natural paranoia.
Tellingly, the study was funded by the Wellcome Trust, founded by Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome. Sir Wellcome is notorious as the man who introduced tabloids to England in 1884. Originally these vehicles for the stupefaction of public paranoia came in psycho-pharmaceutical pill form, until the perfection of hypno-moiré halftone technology in the early 20th century allowed for the more subtle -- and cheaper -- paper-based tabloids that today keep the orthonoid population under control through the strategic memetic management of their sublimated paranoia (or, for readers of The Sun, through simple mamomesmerism).
Regardless of the questionable source for the study and its pro-mind-control conclusions, the findings are clear: more work needs to be done to bring paranoia to the masses.
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