There are lots of employers embracing VR throughout the recruitment process to 'live the role', including experiencing tank driving with the British Army, Marriott's experiential Facebook gaming, and Jaguar's mixed reality app. However, 1000 Cut Journey provides a platform to help people understand racism and the nature of racial inequality.
The immersive virtual-reality experience, puts the viewer in the shoes of Michael Sterling, a black man, encountering racism as a child, teenager, and young adult. Since achieving racial justice requires a deep understanding of racism, the co-creators believe the tool could be used in conjunction with diversity training.
A full description of the science behind the platform can be found on Engadget:
"1000 Cut Journey, however, is unique in its efforts to bridge narrative and social science. The project builds on specific research developments over the past five years in what's termed embodied cognition. One key insight from the field is precisely what the race swapping Griffin learned the hard way: When you change the body, the mind quickly follows.
In one study, white subjects were set up with a prosthetic dark-skinned hand. A researcher stroked the hand with a paintbrush while simultaneously stroking the participant's hidden real hand. The procedure took only a few minutes. Yet participants showed a drop in unconscious bias in the implicit association test, a common measurement of unconscious bias. In another experiment, brushing a white person's face with a cotton bud as he or she watched a video of a black person being brushed the same way led to subjects reporting that the black person's face looked more like their own.
"You can very easily fool the brain into thinking that a different body belongs to you."
"You can very easily fool the brain into thinking that a different body belongs to you," said Manos Tsakiris, a professor of psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, who co-published these papers. "[Including] a body that has a different appearance than yours."
Subsequent studies applied these techniques to VR, putting mostly white subjects in dark-skinned bodies and seeing how their implicit bias decreased. Interestingly, the VR experiences themselves did not involve racially charged scenarios and contained no lessons on racism. Participants were simply asked to follow a tai chi instructor's movements, or play a photo description exercise, all the while conscious of their new bodies. The brain accepted its new skin and rearranged its biases and attitudes accordingly."
In the UK, findings prove that the unemployment rate for BAME jobseekers is nearly double what it is for their white counterparts – eight per cent comparable to 4.6%. The rate of employment for white applicants sits at 75.7%, compared to ethnic groups at 63.9%. The co-creators believe that the tool could be used in conjunction with diversity training efforts. They say that achieving racial justice requires a visceral understanding of racism. It’s hoped that, through understanding the social realities of racism, effective and collective social action can be promoted.