Testing an Immersive Virtual Environment for Decreasing Intergroup Anxiety among University Students: An Interpersonal Perspective

Venla Kuuluvainen, Ira Virtanen, Lassi Rikkonen, Pekka Isotalus

Abstract


This study examined the use of an immersive virtual environment (IVE) in decreasing intergroup anxiety among university students. In Dinner-time360 , the students engaged in an interpersonal encounter by sharing a virtual dinner table with someone from another linguistic or cultural group. A control group watched the documentary in a traditional 2D format. The re-sults showed that the documentary reduced intergroup anxiety in both situa-tions, particularly among students with high anxiety who engaged in the IVE. For the IVE viewers, the decrease in intergroup anxiety was connected to two interpersonal elements: perceptions of the character’s immediacy and an in-creased level of homophily. These findings provide insights into the possibil-ities of IVEs in multicultural learning among university students.

Keywords


multicultural learning; intergroup anxiety; interpersonal communication; immersive virtual environment; parasocial contact

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Copyright (c) 2021 Venla Kuuluvainen, Ira Virtanen, Lassi Rikkonen, Pekka Isotalus


International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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