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Virtual reality can boost empathy

Virtual reality can boost empathy

Science
Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Virtual reality could be used to boost empathy, new research suggests. The tool could be used to encourage tolerance and acceptance of marginalized groups. Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to other perspectives, thoughts and emotions of others. Studies show higher levels of empathy are linked with altruistic behavior. For research purposes, behavioral psychologists sometimes encourage empathy by asking study participants to adopt the prospect of other people. For the new study, researchers at Stanford University used virtual reality to induce empathy. Scientists hypothesized virtual reality would enhance the empathy-boosting effects of perspective-taking tasks. For their experiment, researchers recruited 500 participants to learn about homelessness. Differ...