Virtual Cow Experiment Aims to Teach Empathy
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Experiments are underway at Stanford University to determine if immersive technology can result in more empathy for the environment. As AP's Haven Daley explains, the research uses the latest in virtual reality equipment. (Aug. 14)

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[Location: Stanford, CA][Source: AP][Video: Virtual Human Interaction Lab]AT FIRST GLANCE THIS SMALL LAB ON STANFORD'S CAMPUS looks very clinical.BUT AFTER GEARING UP WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT...(VR equipment gearing up nats)...IT BECOMES A VIRTUAL PASTURE.Lab announcer says: "Please turn to your right and you will see a haystack. It is time for you to feed."THe EXPERIMENT AT THE VIRTUAL HUMAN INTERACTIVE LAB PUTS VOLUNTEERS IN THE SHOES...OR IN THIS CASE, THE HOOVES...OF A VIRTUAL COW.AFTER GETTING FATTENED UP...THEY FEEL SIMULATED CATTLE PRODS...AS THEY'RE LED TO SLAUGHTER.Lab announcer says: "The truck has arrived and it's time for you to go to the slaughterhouse. Please move two steps forward."[SOT/Joshua Bostick/Stanford Researcher] "A lot of people said they're going to think twice before they sit down to have beef. But a lot of other people said this was a cool experiment but it's not going to change dietary habits. We were really interested in the theory of empathy. OTHER SCENARIOS INCLUDE CHOPPING DOWN A VIRTUAL TREE...SWIMMING IN A POLLUTED OCEAN...AND BECOMING A VIRTUAL SUPER HERO.(flying nats)[SOT/Jeremy Bailenson/Director - Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab] "In this world where people spend more waking hours immersed in virtual media, we try to find out how we can make the world a better place by making applications as well as understand the consequence when one spends too much time in these virtual environments."Other Studies have SHOWN THAT PLAYING VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES CAN LEAD TO INCREASED AGGRESSION.THIS RESEARCH AIMS TO FIND OUT IF SPENDING TIME IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD CAN HAVE POSITIVE EFFECTS AS WELL.HAVEN DALEY, ASSOCIATED PRESS, SAN FRANCISCO.APTN SHOTLIST - Stanford, CA - August 2, 20131. entrance to Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab2. putting wrist sensors on3. putting knee pads on4. putting virtual reality helmet on5. volunteer gets down onto hands and knees6. close up of volunteer's face7. screens show virtual reality view8. cow on screen close9. pan from screen to volunteer "cow"10. volunteer shot from behind11. volunteer profile shot12. wrist sensor close13. volunteer torso shot14. SOUNDBITE (English): Joshua Bostick - Stanford Researcher"A lot of people said they're going to think twice before they sit down to have beef. But a lot of other people said this was a cool experiment but it's not going to change dietary habits. We were really interested in the theory of empathy."15. virtual chainsaw16. tree falls on screen17. swimming in polluted ocean demo18. close-up of superhero "flying"19. superhero demo reversal shot20. SOUNDBITE (English): Jeremy Bailenson - Director, Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab "In this world where people spend more waking hours immersed in virtual media, we try to find out how we can make the world a better place by making applications as well as understand the consequence when one spends too much time in these virtual environments."21. volunteer moves on hands and knees22. virtual reality helmet close23. "aging in mirror" demo