Jocelyn Tan ’15, a Markkula Center Hackworth Fellow, uses VR to improve sexual harassment training by putting people in real life situations as CEO of the nonprofit SISU. VR, she says, “adds perspective, immersion, empathy and realism.”
Ethicist and assistant professor Erick Ramirez designs VR simulations—including the trolley problem—where participants react more accurately because the environmental pressures feel real, yielding results that help psychologists better understand empathy.
However, Ramirez warns, simulations that allude participants into thinking they have experienced being a black man or an illegal immigrant are dangerous. Everyone carries emotional baggage that makes it impossible to “walk a mile in another man’s shoes.”