Confronting whiteness through virtual humans: A review of 20 years of research in prejudice and racial bias using virtual environments

Haley Hatfield (PhD student), Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, Matthew Klein (PhD student) & Kristine Nowak (in press). “Confronting whiteness through virtual humans: A review of 20 years of research in prejudice and racial bias using virtual environments.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Abstract: Virtual environments provide novel and powerful ways users can experience people and places where researchers can examine and reduce racial bias. However, these experiences may unintentionally prime or entrench racist beliefs when creating simulations without considering the systemic structures of racial inequities in academia. A critical Whiteness framework guides this systematic review of 20 years of prejudice and bias reduction research in virtual environments. Of the 68 articles, findings indicated that virtual experiences are a promising tool in anti-bias interventions. However, future research must expand to more longitudinal, behaviorally focused studies while prioritizing predictive theoretical models and meaningfully reflecting on inclusive practices within the broader bias reduction space. We discuss best practices for future research in anti-bias and anti-prejudice in virtual environments.

Book Chapter: Designing for persuasion through embodied experiences in immersive virtual environments

Abstract: Embodied experiences in virtual reality (VR) involves the reproduction of sufficiently realistic sensory information so that users are able to see, hear, and feel experiences as if they are going through them at the moment. A growing body of literature evinces that the effects of these virtual experiences carry over into the physical world to impact attitudes and behaviors in the physical world. Underlying mechanisms of embodied experiences that produce these outcomes are discussed in the context of media affordances, or interactions between novel attributes of VR and user perceptions of them. Design implications to maximize persuasive effects are examined and illustrated with case studies. Finally, the limitations of embodied experiences are considered using the efficiency framework to determine tasks that are most appropriate for applying embodied experiences in VR.