Is Virtual Reality Uniquely Effective in Eliciting Empathy?

Date created: | Last Updated:


Creating DOI. Please wait...

Create DOI

Category: Project

Description: It has been argued that virtual reality is uniquely effective at eliciting empathy, because it is the best technology for putting an audience "into the shoes" of another person. Is there really a difference between a virtual reality experience and reading an article when it comes to inducing empathy? In this experimental study, we gave participants a pre-test and post-test survey regarding their empathy, attitudes and intentions toward immigrants, refugees and endangered animals. Between the surveys, randomly selected participants engaged with a virtual reality experience relating to the U.S.-Mexican border, and others read an article on the same topic. A virtual reality experience increased participants' empathy toward immigrants, led to more positive attitudes toward immigration and increased the participants' stated likelihood of taking political action in favor of immigrants. However, in almost all cases these increases were statistically indistinguishable from the increase due to reading a print article. No evidence was found for a strong, diffuse effect of virtual reality beyond the specific subject of the virtual reality experience itself.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

Has supplemental materials for Is Virtual Reality Uniquely Effective in Eliciting Empathy? on SocArXiv


Loading files...



No components to display.


Recent Activity

Loading logs...

OSF does not support the use of Internet Explorer. For optimal performance, please switch to another browser.
This website relies on cookies to help provide a better user experience. By clicking Accept or continuing to use the site, you agree. For more information, see our Privacy Policy and information on cookie use.

Start managing your projects on the OSF today.

Free and easy to use, the Open Science Framework supports the entire research lifecycle: planning, execution, reporting, archiving, and discovery.