Facebook Is Recruiting Experts in Psychophysics To Hack Your Mind for VR

by Joe Durbin • March 20th, 2017

A recent job posting to the Oculus career page indicates that Facebook’s 2014 virtual reality acquisition is currently searching for postdoctoral research scientists with experience in psychophysics. According to the posting, the successful candidate will be “tackling the scientific challenges that define cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality, addressing heretofore-unanswered questions in vision science, displays, and perceptual psychology.” The successful candidate will work at a special Oculus research office in Redmond, Washington.


The scientist in question would be joining a team dedicated to what Oculus is calling “perceptual research,” and will “take advantage of internal resources in mechanical, electrical, optical, and software engineering, allowing us to confront scientific questions which cannot be addressed with existing equipment.”

The specific responsibilities of the research scientist will involve:

  • Research into perception and human factors, both in terms of basic science and how it informs other research and product directions.
  • Collaborate with both internal teams and academia in research to explore perceptual factors, define limits and specifications, and discover opportunities for revolutionary improvement in virtual and augmented reality displays and systems.
  • Explore opportunities and requirements to create new virtual experiences and perform research necessary to deliver them.
  • Collaborate with other researchers, interns, and engineers to identify and develop experimental systems which allow us to answer novel research questions, involving factors both in isolation and as part of an ecologically valid complete system.

Candidates are expected to have a PhD in vision science, bioengineering, or another related field. This individual will also be expected to have an “understanding of human sensory system(s) and ability to apply this knowledge to develop predictive computational models of perceptual and behavioral responses,” as well as three years experience in the field of psychophysics.

Psychophysics is defined as “the branch of psychology that deals with the relationships between physical stimuli and resulting sensations and mental states.”

The job posting does not specifically state what projects this new hire will be working on. However, for a virtual reality team like Facebook’s Oculus, the hiring of a psychophysicist indicates an interest in developing more immersive experiences, haptics and hardware.

During a Facebook live stream at the end of last year, led by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a team of Oculus engineers demonstrated prototype VR controllers that trick the brain into feeling hot and cold temperature changes. According to one of the engineers, the prototype used two peltier coolers which “take advantage” of the “thermoelectric effect”, which turns a voltage difference into a temperature difference.

Controllers like these could be considered a product of psychophysics. And, if this job posting is any indication, they are just the start of what Facebook is researching.

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What's your reaction?
  • Darrell Markie

    let the brainwashing begin..hopefully the porn is good at least.

  • I think this is one of the only road to full immersion, tricking the brain!!! I’m not a big fan of products like the “Virtuix Omni” for the simple reason that by adding an immersion (walking) layer they remove others (going down, jumping, …).

  • NooYawker

    They’re hiring a team to evaluate the video they recorded of you from their webcam sensors.

    • JSM21

      rofl no they are not….THAT WAS YOU! CREEPER!!

      • NooYawker

        I’m watching you right now. Put some pants on!

        • JSM21

          Weird cause I thought I had some on, lol.

  • JSM21

    To the writer of this article…You really need to change that misleading topic headline for this article. Many readers will not know the meanings or functions of terms you used and could take the title literally. That is a VERY unprofessional article title and comes off to be extremely bias, not to mention could be viewed as slanderous. It seems you are TRYING to turn ppl against the Oculus Rift just by the many headlines I have seen you write.

    • polysix


      add the ‘ed’ on the end ffs. samed with ‘chill’ same with ‘cliche’. These millennial retards writing this way, dropping letters off of established (and correct) words get right on my tits.

      • JSM21

        Oh sort of like you not using your capitals at the beginning of sentences? Yeah how lame….rofl

    • Justos

      This is standard coming from Joe. Take a look at his other articles

      “BEWARE Oculus tracking is a hackable webcam!”

      I’ll never forget that shit title, even after he changed it. Fear mongering at its finest. UploadVR is clickbait central and their new boss allows all of it (coming from IGN) Why not talk about the Vives camera that doesnt even need driver hacks to get a feed? Nah, no way. Nope. Praise Gaben

  • DrakeDoesn’tWrite

    And it begins…

  • polysix


    that’s all this shit is for. Eye tracking, reactions to what you see, how best to mine your data. Same old cuntbook, they never change. As IF we need this for VR even for social VR. riiiight.

  • Me

    Told you…