Intro to VR

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) is a broad term, and it is understandable that you may question “What is VR?”. One of the biggest issues is the definition changes throughout the VR industry, it means different things to different people. Particularly as VR is considered the fastest growing segment of media, the definition is constantly changing.

This can create issues when trying to understand and explain what is VR and understand what is possible with the technology.

Comparing different aspects, and sometimes even different products in the one company is like comparing apples and oranges.

To get an understanding of how we define VR here at Equal Reality, read our blog post – The Definition of Virtual Reality.

Why use VR?

When you put on a VR headset, you see through the eyes of another. Up until recently, this has typically meant strapping into a rollercoaster or shooting aliens in space. However, the underlying ability of the format to display different perspectives – especially those we have very little understanding of – offers huge possibilities for reducing a wide range of unconscious biases.

When used alongside unconscious bias training, VR can:

  • Show men what it is like to be a woman on the receiving end of everyday workplace sexism
  • Show white people how racism is experienced by Black and Minority Ethnic people
  • Give able-bodied people an insight into navigating the workplace as a person in a wheelchair
  • Let executives and managers experience work as a junior team member

Typically, at the start of VR training of this sort, the user is placed in front of a mirror. They see the character they are embodying in the reflection – moving their body at the same time as the user. This creates a powerful connection between the participant and their character that translates into increased understanding and empathy.

Suddenly, we are not just observers of bias, but the recipients. This new insight sticks, influencing our actions and reducing our likelihood of unconsciously discriminating against others, long after we’ve taken off the headset.That is not all though; user reactions – as observers or characters – can be captured and analysed by HR teams, providing valuable data on the type and extent of bias within a group, or what sort of common reactions are elicited by common scenarios and settings.