Stanford experiment shows that virtual superpowers encourage real-world empathy

Giving test subjects Superman-like flight in a virtual reality simulator makes them more likely to exhibit altruistic behavior in real life, Stanford researchers find.

 

If you give people superpowers, will they use those abilities for good?

Researchers at Stanford recently investigated the subject by giving people the ability of Superman-like flight in the university’s Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory (VHIL). While several studies have shown that playing violent videogames can encourage aggressive behavior, the new research suggests that games could be designed to train people to be more empathetic in the real world.

 

BY BJORN CAREY