Science believes that the use of virtual reality could help make people more empathetic.
Oftentimes, virtual reality is used for playing virtual games and watching movies to experience the intensity and excitement. But according to a new research, virtual reality can do more than providing enjoyment. Stanford psychologists unveiled how the science knowledge could improve enduring empathy in humans compared to other sorts of media such as text. Contrary to the initial research that only focused on the short-term effect, the latest research analyzed the continuing reaction on empathy, lasting seven days and beyond.
Participants consisted of 560 people ranging from 15 to 88 years old. The study also includes at least eight ethnic educations. A few were shown “Becoming Homeless,” which is a seven-minute VR experience that Stanford University embarked on.
“Taking the perspective of others in VR produces more empathy and prosocial behaviors in people immediately after going through the experience and over time in comparison to just imagining what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes,” said lead researcher, Fernanda Herrera.
Correspondents also came across a few virtual reality situations discovering desperate conditions following a job loss. One scenario made a participant choose some possessions to sell off to pay for the rent. The other scene shows the bus as a form of shelter to safeguard their personal properties from getting stolen.
The situations had a great impact on the participants who underwent the virtual reality experience. They have positive perspectives on the homeless and in fact, nearly 20% more seemingly to sign an invocation to support affordable housing. The Standford researchers find the study dramatic and are currently engaged on other researchers to obtain a better grasp of how VR impacts compassion.
The Standford research was published in Public Library of Science (PLOS) One on Oct 17, 2018. Communication professor and one of the authors, Jeremy Bailenson said that experiences define people as humans. It is no wonder that a powerful experience in VR is more stimulating than dreaming up. Several virtual reality aficionados cite the captivating technology as “the extreme compassion machine” that enables people to better empathize with one another than books, movies, or TV programs can.
As defined by emotion researchers, empathy is the capability to understand other people’s feelings and anticipate what others might be feeling or thinking. Contemporary researchers classified empathy into two types, affective and cognitive.
Affective empathy is the impressions and emotional state that acquire in reaction to other people’s emotions. It could be depicting what other people feel or just feeling anxious when determining other’s agitation or misery.
Cognitive empathy, also known as “perspective taking,” indicates our capability to determine and fathom other’s emotions. According to studies, people with autism spectrum disorders have trouble with empathizing.
Empathy has been revealed to raise people’s comprehension of one another and to incline positive social behavior which includes volunteering, donating or collaborating with others.
Team member, Jamil Zaki said that people perceive empathy as something that they possess or don’t possess. However, countless studies have shown that it isn’t just an affection but something that can be worked on and materialize in various circumstances.