“If you could better understand each other, could you better understand yourself? And if you could see the world through the eyes of another, could we make a better world to live in?” BeAnotherLab.
“Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another being (a human or non-human animal) is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.” Wikipedia as of July 2016.
By its effect of amplified presence and the widespread use of first person view, Virtual Reality has been said to generate greater empathy. Since then, it has been explored by many VR storytellers and journalists. As often with VR, it seems the medium amplifies experiences, and can turn a good one into a great one (and of course a bad one into worst as well!)
Great examples are the bond one establishes with John Hull in Notes on Blindness or the eerie one we feel with dragonflies, frogs and owls in In The Eyes of The Animal.
Of note as well is the work of the transdisciplinary art collective BeAnotherLab, which has been researching “embodied interaction, extended body and extended mind by mixing low-budget digital technology with social relations, Web and neuroscience methodologies.”
The result ? The Machine To Be Another, which has been deployed for gender swapping, being in mind of a poet recounting her experience as a black mother Irak war veteran, and many more.
A much interesting research into what creates empathy and fostering a stronger culture of empathy where it is sorely needed.