Increasing cognitive empathy in cyber-bystanders through 360° virtual reality
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This study examined the use of 360° VR and perspective-taking in cyberbullying from the bystander perspective compared to perspective-taking in 2D format. Both media formats had a significant effect on affective and cognitive empathy for the victim; while significantly decreasing moral disengagement, which also impacted positive interventions in a study on Irish college students (N = 104). Increased empathy activation and positive intervention by bystanders, found here in the form of private/public support of victim are important for motivating passive cyber-bystanders in an environment normally devoid of emotional cues that inspire emotional involvement. The use of 360° VR for perspective-taking for the moderation of moral disengagement of cyber-bystanders is a novel approach to encourage positive intervention behaviours. Implications and future research for the use of 360° VR to combat passive cyber-bystanders is discussed.
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