LBS partners Meta on virtual reality study to curb ethnic tensions

The Lagos Business School (LBS) has secured a partnership with Meta to conduct a Virtual Reality (VR) study across Africa.

The study by Eugene Ohu and the Virtual Human-Computer Interaction (VHCI) lab will conduct cross-cultural academic research to explore the extent to which participation in a VR game design and play can increase empathy and compassion.

Meta’s support for the VHCI Lab is part of a $50 million global investment in global research and programme partners to help build the metaverse collaboratively.

The study is entitled “Identity & Ethnic Discrimination in Africa: from VR-Perspective-taking to Action” and will be conducted across four states in Nigeria and Kenya. It will focus on ethnic identity and discrimination to curb ethnic tensions, violent conflicts, and wars in countries across Africa.

“Since 2018, we have been intrigued by the perspective-taking possibilities of immersive technologies, like VR, and its impact on users; how VR may be used to elicit or increase empathy and compassion and its use in improving mental health outcomes,” Ohu said. “We are excited to partner with Meta to extend and deepen our curiosities to broader contexts. We feel privileged to contribute to a greater understanding of the possibilities of the Metaverse, which will play a great role in work and non-work domains.”

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The VHCI lab explores the implications of the immersive, interactive, and perspective-taking characteristics of technologies like computers, mobile devices, and Virtual and Augmented Reality for character development, learning, behaviour modification, well-being, and productivity.

“I am thrilled that Meta will be partnering with the Lagos Business School VHCI Lab on a virtual reality study across the African continent. This is a validation of our core commitment to building a sustainable business. Virtual reality is the future technology, and the LBS VHCI Lab research with Meta will explore the endless possibilities in creating a virtual world that allows people to see and feel things,” said Chris Ogbechie, Dean of LBS.