Video Games and their Correlation to Empathy: How to teach and experience empathic emotion

Ossy Dwi Endah Wulansari, Johanna Pirker, Johannes Kopf, Christian Gütl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


This article focuses on how video games may trigger empathy. On the one hand, globalization and our fast-changing, globalized world have resulted in an empathy deficit, a situation that calls desperately for a new approach to tackle the empathy issue. On the other hand, recent statistical data has shown that players in some countries today spend on average more than 4 h weekly playing games. Most past research has found that playing violent games decreases pro-social behavior. However, only a few studies investigate the effects of neutral or pro-social video games. Our study aims to identify several characteristics of four games that seem to promote positive moral and empathy and involves 40 subjects. Specifically, we look into the effects of variation of number of interventions and the correlation with perceived presence and immersion. The research reported in this paper covers background and related work on empathy research, existing work on video games for experiencing empathy and the layout of the study. The findings of this initial study on four pro-social games suggest that sufficient story-line of video games can positively impacts aspects such as the ‘perspective taking’ of players. Findings also indicate that multiple interventions and higher perceived immersion dent to increase the level of empathy. This research may contribute to supporting the promotion and development of the ‘games for good’ or ‘games for change’ campaign.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on Engineering Education
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL2019)
EditorsMichael E. Auer, Hanno Hortsch, Panarit Sethakul
Number of pages13
VolumeVolume 1
ISBN (Electronic)
ISBN (Print)9783030402730
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Event22nd International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2019 - Bangkok, Thailand
Duration: 25 Sep 201927 Sep 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
Volume1134 AISC
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


Conference22nd International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning, ICL 2019


  • Empathy
  • Immersive
  • Presence
  • Pro-social
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

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