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Virtual reality app created to help uncover unconscious bias – Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida 2021-06-08 17:19:07 –

Being able to spend the day in someone’s position can change your view of that person. It’s not easy to do in the real world, but you can do anything in virtual reality (VR).

Dr. Quentin Tyler is Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Michigan State University. He came up with the idea of ​​a virtual reality app that helps people develop empathy.

“This app is a way to meet people in the area,” says Dr. Quentin Tyler. “This is an app that attracts people from different backgrounds. It’s not just for people who are interested in virtual reality, but also for people who are interested in improving diversity, fairness, and inclusion journeys.”

This app is called “A Mile in My Shoes”.

“A Mile in My Shoes is a unique experience,” says Dr. Tyler. “It’s a creative immersive experience that allows an individual to see the world through an identified individual’s lens.”

Dr. Linda Nubani, an assistant professor of interior design, helped create him. She specializes in architecture and virtual reality. She says VR is a very influential tool because it can model complex scenarios.

“When it first went on sale, I think it was very commonly used in military applications, flight simulation, and medical operations, but it’s now commercially available, so many researchers I’m interested in exploring the possibilities of using virtual reality for other purposes, “Dr. Nubani said.

So why not use VR to understand and care for someone who is completely different from you? Dr. Nubani says it was very intentional while creating the app.

“Surveys have shown that looking for a third party and constantly looking at your avatar increases your ownership of that avatar,” said Dr. Nubani.

She says that fostering ownership of her avatar makes it easier to uncover unconscious prejudices.

“Unconscious prejudice against me is small,” said Dr. Tyler. “It is the positive or negative behavioral patterns we have that influence our perceptions, beliefs and thoughts about individuals and groups.”

We use the word unconscious most of the time because people are unaware that they have a prejudice. In-app avatars are LGBTQ + students, wheelchair students, and hijabs. Includes students.

“The additional avatars are African-American men who may experience microaggression when they enter the facility,” said Dr. Tyler. “Sometimes I ask the person,’Do they belong here?’, Or even see the pictures on the wall do not show who the person is.”

Dr. Tyler and Dr. Nubani have created a survey to help people measure changes in empathy as they use the app. The goal is not only to be aware of your prejudices, but also to learn how to behave when you witness an unpleasant situation caused by someone.

“How can you defend the individual, represent change, or speak out,” said Dr. Tyler.

Both want to expand the app further and add avatars to extend the reach beyond college.



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