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How can virtual reality have an impact on empathy?

How can virtual reality have an impact on empathy?

Empathy is the basic capacity to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to feel their emotions and better understand them;

At the current moment, being able to understand, anticipate, develop our own behavior in order to interact better with one’s environment is crucial. In effect, the “VUCA world (Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity)” in which we are living is increasingly leading us to adapt to new situations or review our behavior in relation to those around us.

So how do we improve our empathy and develop human qualities?

Well, according to recent studies by Stanford University (Social Neuroscience Laboratory), virtual reality offers an innovative, highly effective approach to the subject.

Analyses have been done of young testers who were shown an image of themselves in virtual reality. Their faces were aged in line with their body shape and probable changes. They were thus emotionally confronted with a reality that they naturally had not yet imagined.

The results were surprising since the majority of them began saving money twice as much as before in order to meet the needs of their ageing avatar!

The researchers found that unconscious connections in their brains were being operated on, making strong links with their virtual reality “double”.

Furthermore, profound, long-term effects were noted in the integration of emotional information and the activation of an empathic link;

Examples of immersion involving homeless people also revealed participants’ greater understanding of misery. The act of being really confronted (via the headset) with poverty enables you to understand suffering better and increases your level  of empathy.

Plenty of other research is currently in progress and is tending to validate the impact of virtual reality as an emotional vector for empathy: for example, in combating  discrimination and racism, in enhancing ecological awareness, etc.

The possibilities are immense and very interesting in their concrete applications for the business world.

In effect, feeling what a staff member or colleague is feeling enables us to self-regulate better. Instantly we are inside the skin of the other person, we realize quicker the challenge of the situation and implement a fairer, controlled interaction.

Virtual reality enables us to become more human and to refine one’s sensitivity in order to develop quickly!

Training specialists 5Discovery offer virtual reality courses focusing on the development of soft behavioral skills, especially  in effective interaction, confrontations with others in difficult situations, the management of stress activators, negotiation, etc.

Our 100% innovative courses enable us to learn more quickly, more playfully and accelerate your training ROI by increasing its effectiveness. Contact us at or +33 1 86 65 41 42