Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities

Vivian Hsueh Hua Chen, Sarah Hian May Chan, Yong Ching Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


This study examines the effect of perspective-taking via embodiment in virtual reality (VR) in improving biases against minorities. It tests theoretical arguments about the affective and cognitive routes underlying perspective-taking and examines the moderating role of self-presence in VR through experiments. In Study 1, participants embodied an ethnic minority avatar and experienced workplace microaggression from a first-person perspective in VR. They were randomly assigned to affective (focus on emotions) vs. cognitive (focus on thoughts) perspective-taking conditions. Results showed that ingroup bias improved comparably across both conditions and that this effect was driven by more negative perceptions of the majority instead of more positive perceptions of minorities. In Study 2, participants experienced the same VR scenario from the third-person perspective. Results replicated those from Study 1 and extended them by showing that the effect of condition on ingroup bias was moderated by self-presence. At high self-presence, participants in the affective condition reported higher ingroup bias than those in the cognitive condition. The study showed that in VR, the embodiment of an ethnic minority is somewhat effective in improving perceptions towards minority groups. It is difficult to clearly distinguish between the effect of affective and cognitive routes underlying the process of perspective-taking.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalMultimodal Technologies and Interaction
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This research is supported by the Ministry of Education, Singapore, under its Academic Research Fund Tier 2 Grant (MOE2017-T2-2-145) and Academic Research Fund Tier 1 Grant (RG41/20).

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Perspective-Taking in Virtual Reality and Reduction of Biases against Minorities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this