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EMPATHY IN VIDEOGAMES Summary of Designing Games to Foster Empathy by Jonathan Belman & Mary Flanagan (2010), retrieved from There are two broad categories of empathy: cognitive empathy and emotional empathy. Cognitive empathy involves taking on another persons point of view. Emotional empathy is an emotional response to another persons emotional state, which can be parallel (vicarious experience of another persons emotional state) or reactive (different emotion in response to another persons emotional state). Empathy has been proven to improve peoples attitudes and behaviors towards individuals or groups, but often both cognitive and emotional empathy are required for this to happen. Furthermore, while exercises in cognitive and emotional empathy have shown to fight participants prejudices, participants must be induced to evoke empathy as those with prejudices often avoid feeling empathy for those they discriminate against. Video games have great potential to evoke empathy because they allow players to immerse themselves in the roles of others. Belman and Flanagan suggest the following design principles to evoke empathy in a videogame (a videogame does not need to adhere to all principles to be successful at evoking empathy) : 1. Players should be induced at outset to make intentional effort to empathize (empathetic play) 2. Give players specific recommendations about how their actions can address issues represented in the game (empathy can be painful if you feel you cant help those you are empathizing with) 3. Integrate both cognitive and emotional empathy to shift players beliefs 4. Emphasize points of similarity between player and people or groups with whom she is supposed to empathize, but beware of provoking defensive avoidance (not much research on how to avoid defensive avoidance. Games that successfully foster empathy, according to Belman & Flanagan: Peacemaker Player choose to play as the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The goal of the game is to create a two-state solution. The game encourages cognitive empathy because you can play from either side of the conflict. Even when a player selects the character that they personally side with, they must still consider the nuances of opposing position to play effectively(oppositions reactions to players choices affect gameplay success). The game also fosters emotional

empathy by including photographs and videos depicting how the conflict impacts individuals. Hush Player takes on the role of Rwandan Tutsi mother during the genocide, who is hiding with her baby from Hutu soldiers. Player must sing a lullaby to the baby to keep it from crying, by typing the lullaby as prompted on the screen. This evokes cognitive empathy as players actions closely approximate what the player character is depicted as doing. Layoff Player takes on role of corporate management that must cut jobs during financial crisis. However, player is presented with detailed biography of each worker that they layoff. This evokes emotional empathy. Also likely that player will encounter workers that they share similarities with.