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Virtual Embodiment of White People in a Black Virtual Body Leads to a Sustained Reduction in Their Implicit Racial Bias

Banakou, D; Hanumanthu, PD; Slater, M; (2016) Virtual Embodiment of White People in a Black Virtual Body Leads to a Sustained Reduction in Their Implicit Racial Bias. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , 10 , Article 601. 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00601. Green open access

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Abstract

Virtual reality can be used to visually substitute a person’s body by a life-sized virtual one. Such embodiment results in a perceptual illusion of body ownership over the virtual body (VB). Previous research has shown that the form of the VB can influence implicit attitudes. In particular, embodying White people in a Black virtual body is associated with an immediate decrease in their implicit racial bias against Black people. We tested whether the reduction in implicit bias lasts for at least 1 week and whether it is enhanced by multiple exposures. Two experiments were carried out with a total of 90 female participants where the virtual body was either Black or White. Participants were required to follow a virtual Tai Chi teacher who was either Asian or European Caucasian. Each participant had 1, 2, or 3 exposures separated by days. Implicit racial bias was measured 1 week before their first exposure and 1 week after their last. The results show that implicit bias decreased more for those with the Black virtual body than the White. There was also some evidence of a general decrease in bias independently of body type for which possible explanations are put forward.

Type: Article
Title: Virtual Embodiment of White People in a Black Virtual Body Leads to a Sustained Reduction in Their Implicit Racial Bias
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00601
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00601
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 Banakou, Hanumanthu and Slater. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: racial bias, racism, body ownership, virtual reality, implicit association test, rubber hand illusion, Tai Chi
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1533215
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