Putting yourself in the skin of a black avatar reduces implicit racial bias.

Published

Journal Article

Although it has been shown that immersive virtual reality (IVR) can be used to induce illusions of ownership over a virtual body (VB), information on whether this changes implicit interpersonal attitudes is meager. Here we demonstrate that embodiment of light-skinned participants in a dark-skinned VB significantly reduced implicit racial bias against dark-skinned people, in contrast to embodiment in light-skinned, purple-skinned or with no VB. 60 females participated in this between-groups experiment, with a VB substituting their own, with full-body visuomotor synchrony, reflected also in a virtual mirror. A racial Implicit Association Test (IAT) was administered at least three days prior to the experiment, and immediately after the IVR exposure. The change from pre- to post-experience IAT scores suggests that the dark-skinned embodied condition decreased implicit racial bias more than the other conditions. Thus, embodiment may change negative interpersonal attitudes and thus represent a powerful tool for exploring such fundamental psychological and societal phenomena.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Peck, TC; Seinfeld, S; Aglioti, SM; Slater, M

Published Date

  • September 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 779 - 787

PubMed ID

  • 23727712

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23727712

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1090-2376

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1053-8100

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.concog.2013.04.016

Language

  • eng