Stanford University

Examining Racism with Virtual Reality

Achieving racial justice requires understanding racism. This project uses immersive virtual reality (IVR) to create a “virtual shoes” experience through which a participant can viscerally embody an avatar who encounters various forms of racism.

We are examining effects of this immersive virtual environment (IVE) on changes in acute physiological functioning (e.g. heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure) and psychological processes, including empathy/social perspective taking, racial bias and decision making. This project builds on previous studies, in which we have examined how virtual reality can induce in empathy for people different from oneself.

Funded by a Magic Grant from the Brown Instituten for Media Innovation, we are working with Courtney Cogburn and her team from the Columbia School of Social Work.

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