David Shaffer, who has been blogging at MacArthur's Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning, reports on the recreation of the infamous Milgram Experiment in a virtual environment and, based on the outcomes, concludes that even though the participants know that the subject is virtual, the emotions and decision making are very real.
Originally reported in Nature, more information on the experiment can be found at Technovelgy.com according to Shaffer.
The post drew a response from Lynn Miller of the Annenberg School of Communications. She points out that researchers at the University of Southern California discovered that not only could virtual behavior be predicted from real world behavior as Shaffer suggests, but that risk-taking in the virtual environment was a better near-term predictor of subsequent real life risk taking than other models currently in use.
Shaffer is the author of the book How Computer Games Help Children Learn and is researching what he calls the "epistemologies of the digital age." I've found his posts in the ecology-of-games category at Spotlight thought provoking.