The Empathy Lens: Gaining Insights Through Immersive Learning

Empathy is such an essential requirement for all of us, but not easy to come by. A team of cross-disciplinary experts from across SDSU will leverage virtual reality tools to help the public build empathy and mutual understanding by figuratively walking in someone else’s shoes. 

Virtual reality can help doctors and nurses in hospitals experience what it’s like to be a patient suffering intense pain or palpitations. A hiring committee could learn what it’s like to be on the other side of the table, as an applicant from a different cultural, ethnic or racial background. It can also help expedite understanding between conflicting parties who bring very different perspectives to a negotiation.

The team envisions using these tools for training and real life, to enable participants to experience what it’s like to work with, serve, hire or teach people who are different from themselves.


Big Ideas Champions:

  • Beth Chung, Ph.D., Management
  • James Frazee,Ph.D., ITS

Team Members

  • Yea-Wen Chen, Ph.D., Communications
  • Mark Wheeler, Ph.D., Philosophy
  • Amy Randel, Ph.D., Management
  • Gabi Eissa, Ph.D., Management
  • Kate Hattrup, Ph.D., Psychology
  • Sean Hauze, ITS
  • Jerry Sheehan, ITS
  • Helina Hoyt, Ph.D., Nursing
  • Gregorio Ponce, Dean SDSU Imperial Valley
  • Jennifer Imazeki, Ph.D., Diversity and Innovation
  • Luke Wood, Ph.D., Campus Diversity and Student Affairs