Gerçekliğin Yeniden İnşası: Gruplar Arası Tehdit Algısı Bağlamında Sanal Gerçeklikle Empatinin Değişimlenmesinin Sosyal Mesafe Düzeyi ve Yardım Etme Davranışı Üzerindeki Etkisi
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Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others. Studies using traditional perspective-taking methods reveal that there is no expected increase in empathy when intergroup threat perception is high. Virtual reality (VR) is being used as a new tool to encourage empathy and is more effective than traditional methods. The preliminary study showed that VR was successful in manipulating empathy in individuals with both low and high-threat perception. As the perception of threat and empathy increase, the helping behavior also increases, while the level of social distance decreases. This study investigated the effects of empathy manipulated with VR on the level of social distance and helping behavior in the context of perceived intergroup threat. In the first stage, 266 university students were divided into two groups, low-high, according to their threat perception towards Syrian refugees using the Intergroup Threat Perception Scale. In the second stage, 160 participants were assigned to one of the three conditions. While VR Camp condition watched the “Clouds Over Sidra” video in VR, Screen Camp condition also watched the same video on a computer screen. VR Space watched a video that consists of space images with VR. Then, the social distance levels of the participants were measured by Social Distance Scale and the number of money they donated to a charity campaign was examined. For this purpose, 3 x 2 MANOVA was conducted. The results show that participants with high threat perception donated less money, and their social distance levels were higher. Also, empathy manipulation with VR decreased the level of social distance and increased the number of donations. Empathy; when the perception of threat was low, it did not cause any difference in the social distance, and when the perception of threat was high, it did not cause any difference in the amount of donations.