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Article

Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities

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Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, 31 Nanyang Link, Singapore 637718, Singapore
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College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, 48 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639818, Singapore
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kangsoo Kim, Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn and Gerd Bruder
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2021, 5(8), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5080042
Received: 7 May 2021 / Revised: 25 June 2021 / Accepted: 26 July 2021 / Published: 31 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Interaction and Psychology in XR)
This study examines the effect of perspective-taking via embodiment in virtual reality (VR) in improving biases against minorities. It tests theoretical arguments about the affective and cognitive routes underlying perspective-taking and examines the moderating role of self-presence in VR through experiments. In Study 1, participants embodied an ethnic minority avatar and experienced workplace microaggression from a first-person perspective in VR. They were randomly assigned to affective (focus on emotions) vs. cognitive (focus on thoughts) perspective-taking conditions. Results showed that ingroup bias improved comparably across both conditions and that this effect was driven by more negative perceptions of the majority instead of more positive perceptions of minorities. In Study 2, participants experienced the same VR scenario from the third-person perspective. Results replicated those from Study 1 and extended them by showing that the effect of condition on ingroup bias was moderated by self-presence. At high self-presence, participants in the affective condition reported higher ingroup bias than those in the cognitive condition. The study showed that in VR, the embodiment of an ethnic minority is somewhat effective in improving perceptions towards minority groups. It is difficult to clearly distinguish between the effect of affective and cognitive routes underlying the process of perspective-taking. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognitive perspective-taking; affective perspective-taking; VR avatar; embodiment in VR; virtual reality; presence; ingroup bias cognitive perspective-taking; affective perspective-taking; VR avatar; embodiment in VR; virtual reality; presence; ingroup bias
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, V.H.H.; Chan, S.H.M.; Tan, Y.C. Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2021, 5, 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5080042

AMA Style

Chen VHH, Chan SHM, Tan YC. Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction. 2021; 5(8):42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5080042

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Vivian H.H., Sarah H.M. Chan, and Yong C. Tan 2021. "Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities" Multimodal Technologies and Interaction 5, no. 8: 42. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti5080042

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