Virtual Bodyworks

Our research focuses on embodiment in virtual reality and the impact that this has on responses of people to having a different virtual body – ranging from physiological responses including pain, through behavioural changes, to changes in implicit attitudes. By ‘embodiment’ we mean that a participant when entering a VR has a virtual body that is spatially coincident with their real body, and which moves synchronously with their own movements. They can see it by looking towards their body and/or in a virtual mirror. A particular focus has been on reducing implicit racial bias of White people against Black. A technique that uses embodiment involves maintaining a conversation with yourself through successive embodiment in two dierent bodies, one representing the self and the other a counsellor. This has been successfully used in two different studies, and has also seen condential commercial applications.

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