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Staged empathy : empathy and visual perception in virtual reality systems

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dc.contributor.advisor D. Fox Harrell. en_US Sutherland, Elisabeth Ainsley en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies. en_US 2015-07-31T19:13:04Z 2015-07-31T19:13:04Z 2015 en_US 2015 en_US
dc.description Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Comparative Media Studies, 2015. en_US
dc.description Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (pages 102-107). en_US
dc.description.abstract This thesis proposes staged empathy as a new analytical framework to examine how virtual reality work provokes empathic feeling. Virtual reality has seen renewed interest in recent years, and has been hailed by journalists and practitioners as an "empathy machine'. This characterization is informal and assumes that feelings of presence and a first-person perspective alone will drive empathic feeling. A critical method for analyzing how virtual reality work engages with the concept of empathy (specifically defined as "inner imitation for the purpose of gaining knowledge of another") does not exist. This thesis reviews the intellectual history of empathy (prior to the diversification of the term in social psychology to refer to a host of social behaviors) to derive a theoretical foundation to staged empathy A staged empathy framework foregrounds process and reflexivity, innate aspects of empathizing, and introduces an externalized and performed model for empathizing that is facilitated by virtual reality. To construct this framework, a variety of contemporary virtual reality works are studied which suggest the emergence of specific techniques that are referred to in this thesis as "intentional looking" and "direct address". Applying theories of affordances and revealed phantasms from environmental philosophy and cultural computing to these techniques, staged empathy provides a framework for the analysis of virtual reality work that is sensitive to the new potentials of the medium as well as the limitations of empathy. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Elisabeth Ainsley Sutherland. en_US
dc.format.extent 107 pages en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.rights.uri en_US
dc.subject Comparative Media Studies. en_US
dc.title Staged empathy : empathy and visual perception in virtual reality systems en_US
dc.title.alternative Empathy and visual perception in virtual reality systems en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US S.M. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 914478914 en_US

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