Implicit Bias Training: Walk A Mile In Their Shoes with Virtual Reality

VR can bring us closer to others when used properly! Photo: It’s widely understoond now that in the workplace, diversity and inclusion lead to better ideas, happier associates, less turnover, more sustainability, etc. But no matter how open we might think we are, humans are wired to pursue safety, predictability, and comfortability – and understanding others not just like us will always be a challenge. We’re always looking for ways we can bring humor, empathy and teamwork into the workplace because we know how hard it is for HR professionals to find programs that advance these goals in a fun, effective way. And Virtual Reality is a huge, amazing new part of that! What if instead of having cute infographics made, we could really see a day in the life of co-workers not just like us? VR makes for amazing implicit bias training! Thanks to John Goebel at North American Dental, for passing on a great NPR interview with some researchers using Virtual Reality can help us with teamwork and implicit bias training in the workplace. The interviewee, Jeremy Bailenson, is a professor at Stanford University, and he’s the founding director of its Virtual Human Interaction Lab. They’re using the power of VR to study how we relate to each other in work and learning environments. Jeremy Bailenson, of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab It’s goal? One project is called “empathy at scale” set up “to test a wide range of empathy scenarios varying in domain (e.g., prejudice, bullying, classroom learning, etc.), and in motivational factors that encourage empathy (e.g., immersiveness of the simulation, emotional valence of treatment, strength of group affiliation).” For instance, if in Virtual Reality you can live as a person of a different racial background, or gender, or someone who was homeless — and experience how people interact with them differently — do you think that would give you a glimpse into their world? The Lab’s new VR collaboration with Columbia University, 1000 Cut Journey, lets you experience some key life moments as an African American, first-hand. This is all possible through Virtual Reality experiences that are available to you right now. One of the Stanford exercises has you experience your own reflection, aging right before your eyes, from youthful to senior citizen. “Through the capabilities of the technology, learners can see their appearance and behaviors reflected in a virtual mirror as someone who is different, and perceptually experience a scenario from the perspective of any party in a social interaction.” If implicit bias training is something you’re looking to enhance in your workplace, we think everyone should have the chance to experience these in roomscale, walkaround VR — but especially anyone looking to bring more understanding and inclusion to their place of work. So please email me at or call 216.505.0435 and schedule a 1-hour demo at our office in downtown Cleveland. You’ll enjoy it, and if we can augment your work programs, we’d love the opportunity! Feel free to check out our other blog posts on how gaming is an exciting, fun way to put a new spin on old concepts & corporate activities!]]>

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