VR: Virtual reality

Using Virtual Reality to Teach Empathy
Liz Brazile
Jan 15, 2019
Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is more than just a phrase for people working at the intersection of psychology and technology.

"Though Kim, creator of Empathy Bridge, isn’t now working on any other virtual reality pieces, she would like to see other designers create experiences that encourage users to empathize with socially vulnerable groups."

Learning Empathy Through Virtual Reality: Multiple Strategies for Training Empathy-Related Abilities Using Body Ownership Illusions in Embodied Virtual Reality
"Several disciplines have investigated the interconnected empathic abilities behind the proverb “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” to determine how the presence, and absence, of empathy-related phenomena affect prosocial behavior and intergroup relations. Empathy enables us to learn from others’ pain and to know when to offer support. Similarly, virtual reality (VR) appears to allow individuals to step into someone else’s shoes, through a perceptual illusion called embodiment, or the body ownership illusion. Considering these perspectives, we propose a theoretical analysis of different mechanisms of empathic practices in order to define a possible framework for the design of empathic training in VR. 

This is not intended to be an extensive review of all types of practices, but an exploration of empathy and empathy-related phenomena. Empathy-related training practices are analyzed and categorized. We also identify different variables used by pioneer studies in VR to promote empathy-related responses. Finally, we propose strategies for using embodied VR technology to train specific empathy-related abilities."

This Surprising Technology May Be the Key to Encouraging Empathy and Kindness
Anything that helps us take a step toward removing judgment and hate in this world is a big step in the right direction.
By Peter Economy
"A study published this month in the open-access journal PLOS ONE suggests that Virtual Reality could be a "useful tool to encourage empathy, helpful behavior, and positive attitudes towards marginalized groups." This study, led by Fernanda Herrera from Stanford University, investigated if virtual reality (VR) systems could aid "perspective-taking" -- that is, if participants could successfully imagine what it would be like to be someone else under specific circumstances."

VR: The Ultimate Empathy Machine?
by Sande Chen

"Virtual reality has been hailed the "ultimate empathy machine." Teachers and researchers certainly believe that the immersive VR experiences will make players empathize with the plight of others, such as that of refugees, the disabled, or other disadvantaged groups. However, as Yale Professor of Psychology Paul Bloom cautions in "It's Ridiculous to Use Virtual Reality to Empathize with Refugees," the type of empathy VR generates in players may be misleading.

 For one, he points out, while VR may be good at simulating environments, it doesn't replicate the psychological forces of powerlessness, despair, and oppression. A player can step out at any time and doesn't have to face a reality where the country has been torn apart by war and none of the player's relatives have made it out alive."

From Within: Why VR And Empathy Go Hand In Hand
MARCH 12TH, 2017

YouTube Video

"storytelling company Within, recognizes the value of VR as an empathy-inducing technology, telling me: “[With VR] comes a sense of vulnerability: you feel the dangers in a more visceral way, and you feel the presence of other people as though they’re real and therefore can more easily connect with and relate to them – which of course are the seeds of empathy.”"

Psychologists Use VR to Test Whether You'll Save Someone's Life
Peter Hess
March 11, 2017

"Patil tells Inverse that this research emphasizes the significance of compassionover empathy. “Individuals’ willingness to help someone in need seems to be determined by how much they care for others’ well-being — compassion — and not by how much they share feelings of the person in need — empathy,” he says."

The Ultimate Empathy Machine: VR And Social
by Josh Engroff,
"A common critique of VR is that it is will make us even more antisocial than we already are. But there are powerful counter-arguments against this. Chris Milk, probably the most accomplished film maker working in VR today, has called VR the “ultimate empathy machine.” Experienced in VR, his movie “Clouds Over Sidra,” about a 12-year-old Syrian girl living in a Jordanian refugee camp, carries an emotional power that is hard describe. The viewer does not watch the movie as much as experience it as a participant, with all distance between viewer and subject removed. That effect is impossible with 2D film."