Our aim for this project is to try and increase individual’s empathy levels by using VR and a simulation-app in order to change our perceptions and boost the desire to help others by being more pro-social.
Our aim for this project is to try and increase individual’s empathy levels by using VR and a simulation-app in order to change our perceptions and boost the desire to help others by being more pro-social. The app “Empathy Matters” will allow users to experience what the iPhone of a young Syrian girl would look like by replicating the features of her phone. Relatable features such as messages, photos and calls give user a simple insight into her life and the everyday hardships faced by a Syrian refugee. A VR 360° video showing a Syrian refugee camp through the eyes of a young Syrian girl will also be used. This video - ‘Clouds over Sidra’- was designed for this exact purpose by creators, Gabo Arora and Chris Milk in conjunction with the UN in hopes to influence political leaders to be more empathetic to the refugee crisis. We felt that the VR video needed something more attainable as research showed that the more familiar an individual is with another, the more empathetic they will be towards them (Bouchard et al., 2013). This inspired the idea of making an app that brings the user closer to the Syrian refugee by using a platform that a typical user could relate to – a mobile phone. We chose an iPhone interface as research showed that it is the second most used smart phone in Ireland in 2018. It is also arguably an easier interface to navigate for the purposes and features of our project. This app increases the user's relationship with the young Syrian girl – Amena – and hopefully will increase their level of empathy towards the refugee crisis.