Wonder and emotion at the heart of the Metaverse

Andrea Gaggioli

An indispensable tool for creating real change in individuals through emotions and wonder: the goal of the Metaverse, for Andrea Gaggioli, professor of psychology, must first and foremost be to excite people, because only then is it able to generate a transformative and valuable experience.

Influence the experience to make people more creative through wonder and change them through emotions. This is how the metaverse must act according to Andrea Gaggioli, Professor of General Psychology and Director of the Center for Studies and Research in Communication Psychology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart.
Experiencing wonder induces people to be more creative. Therefore, a specific use of the metaverse to induce this feeling can be useful in contexts where creativity is required. This is one of the contexts Gaggioli has been working on over the years.
For the metaverse to work, it must be engaging and offer (and deliver) a promise of personal transformation, i.e., deliver an experience for which it is “worth it” to enter a simulated reality and put on a virtual helmet. This is what “transformative design” is all about, i.e., the study of how to design transformative experiences in the metaverse.


There are many opportunities offered by this new dimension of perception; among those successfully tested by Gaggioli and his group was a project that exploited the mechanism of emotional induction to promote pro-sustainability behaviors: The project involved immersing people in a virtual garden in which plastic bottles used by one million people in one year were represented. Faced with the “concrete” view of ecological impact, learning the effects of one’s actions is easier and thus changing behavior.
Immersive technologies today are also being used in clinical practice. One of the areas where VR works best is in phobia therapy. Indeed, exposing a person to a stimulus that generates a particular sensation helps the patient approach the stimulus.

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