Being the Victim of Intimate Partner Violence in Virtual Reality: First- Versus Third-Person Perspective

Cristina Gonzalez-Liencres, Luis E. Zapata, Guillermo Iruretagoyena, Sofia Seinfeld, Lorena Perez-Mendez, Jorge Arroyo-Palacios, David Borland, Mel Slater, and Maria V. Sanchez-Vives
Frontiers

Immersive virtual reality is widely used for research and clinical purposes. Here we explored the impact of an immersive virtual scene of intimate partner violence experienced from the victim’s perspective (first person), as opposed to witnessing it as an observer (third person). We are ultimately interested in the potential of this approach to rehabilitate batterers and in understanding the mechanisms underlying this process. For this, non-offender men experienced the scene either from the perspective of the victim’s virtual body (a female avatar), which moved synchronously with the participants’ real movements, or from the perspective of an observer, while we recorded their behavior and physiological responses. We also evaluated through questionnaires, interviews and implicit association tests their subjective impressions and potential pre/post changes in implicit gender bias following the experience.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 836707. EIT Health is supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union.