Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The purpose of this exploratory case study was to determine what characteristics in a virtual game could motivate participants to feel empathy. Participants were invited to play an allegorical educational game that was staged with fictional fantasy characters in a simulated underwater endangered environment. The study design utilized was an exploratory case study to examine the participant responses to components of the game that had the potential for promoting empathy. The participants were educators attending a virtual conference in Second Life. Data collected included a questionnaire of avatar competency and experience, an Interpersonal Reactivity Inventory survey, and open-ended narratives. Results indicated that four conditions needed to be present in participants and the environment for empathy to occur: 1) if player participants had high competence and high experience in the virtual environment, 2) if they identified strongly with their avatar, 3) if the environment was designed with high realism, and, 4) if the topics in the game were relatable.


© 2023 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)

Publication Title

Proceedings of EdMedia + Innovate Learning

Included in

Education Commons



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