Playing videogame or virtual reality avatars whose race is different from yours could reduce your racial biases, according to a new study. Now, scientists are using this insight to explore how technology could help build empathy and reduce tension between different groups of people.
In recent years, numerous studies have shown just how easy it is to trick your brain into taking ownership of a physical or virtual body not your own. For example, a couple years ago researchers found they could make people believe they had a third arm by doing little more than placing a rubber, human-looking arm right next to their real arms. And in 2008, scientists demonstrated the body-swapping illusion, where study participants felt as though they were in the body of a mannequin or another person.