Virtual Reality

Can VR Cause Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share someone else’s feelings. Empathy is regarded to be the most fundamental skills for every human being to communicate with the fellow person to manage conflicts to establish and maintain relationships. Most of the time these days we spend our time using technological products or platforms to communicate or network with each other as it creates adverse effects like high narcissism and low empathy level. As a result, our kids that are exposed to much of the technologies today removes empathy.

To overcome such huddle implementing VR can be a solution by keeping kids in the moment or environment which [VR] reduces that distance and improve their connection with the outside world. Experiences can cause empathy, but also it depends on what we are doing. Think about the video or written words. Neither of it automatically creates empathy, but each can be broken down in pieces and crafted carefully to can create a positive effect. Across dozens of studies since 2003, has shown that if one wants to leverage what makes VR special, physical activity helps. If we want to move people around, we should move them. No medium magically produces empathy. As Bill Gates remarked, “Content is king.”

In a study published, they presented data outlining empathy for coral. In the study conducted, 167 participants interacted with two different versions of a virtual rocky reef – a healthy one and the other devastated by global warming.

They inspected coral and other marine life, swimming through the scene by waving their physical arms around in a bosom stroke movement. For eight minutes, we recorded their body developments, precisely the amount they moved their hands. After the experience is complete, we inquired as to whether they were ready to invest energy in really finding out about sea preservation. We found a vast connection—the more individuals physically moved around while inspecting the virtual reef, the more they wanted to take in more about sea protection outside of VR. The relationship does not suggest causation, and it may be the case that individuals who were “green” were progressively keen on the substance and were likewise bound to need to take in more.

We are all created equal in the virtual world, and we can use this equality to help and address some of the sociological problems that society has yet to solve in the physical world. Empathy is not something we can work on and turn up or down at different times or situations.

Jeremy Bailenson is a professor of communication at Stanford University. His new book Experience On Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do (WW Norton & Co) is published on February 27