University of Oulu

Ville Paananen, Sina Kiarostami, Lik-Hang Lee, Aku Visuri, Saba Kheirinejad, and Simo Hosio. 2023. Exploring Situated Empathy through a Metaverse Campus. In 26th International Academic Mindtrek Conference (Mindtrek ’23), October 03–06, 2023, Tampere, Finland. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 12 pages.

Exploring situated empathy through a metaverse campus

Saved in:
Author: Paananen, Ville1; Kiarostami, Sina2; Lee, Lik-Hang3;
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu Oulu, Finland
2Nokia Mobile Networks, Espoo, Finland
3Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong SAR
4Tokyo College, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-14


Virtual Reality (VR) is promising in communicating people’s hardship experiences in simulated situations. This can help foster empathy among people. In this paper, we present a VR experience designed to showcase the hardship experiences of an international higher education community concerning their studies and lives in an unfamiliar neighborhood. We collected hardship stories and data from 40 members of the community through an online questionnaire. The questionnaire analysis led to understanding critical issues, such as social problems, language barriers, issues with bureaucracy, and racism. We then turned the issues into interactive stories in VR. We recruited 18 participants to experience the hardship stories through interactions with avatars in a VR version of the campus where the community is located. Our preliminary results from the questionnaires suggest that the participants’ knowledge and tendency to willingness to discuss the hardships improved due to participating in the experience. Further, our semi-structured interviews reflect positively on the VR experience’s memorability, the stories’ plausibility and participants’ increased situated empathy and awareness regarding the hardships of the local international community. This early exploration informs future studies focusing on situated empathy.

see all

ISBN: 979-8-4007-0874-9
Pages: 1 - 12
DOI: 10.1145/3616961.3616971
Host publication: Academic mindtrek : proceedings of the 26th International Academic Mindtrek Conference, 3rd - 6th Oct, 2023 Tampere, Finland
Conference: International Academic Mindtrek Conference
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: This research is connected to the GenZ strategic profiling project at the University of Oulu, supported by the Academy of Finland (project number 318930), Biocenter Oulu, the Strategic Research Council (SRC), established within the Academy of Finland (Grants 335625, 335729), and Academy Research Fellow funding by Academy of Finland (Grants 349637 and 353790).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 335625
Detailed Information: 335625 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
335729 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
349637 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
353790 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2023 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution International 4.0 License.