The efficacy of an immersive 3D virtual versus 2D web environment in intercultural sensitivity acquisition
Relatively few studies have empirically tested computer-based immersive virtual environments’ efficacy in teaching or enhancing pro-social attitudes, such as intercultural sensitivity. This channel study experiment was conducted (N = 159) to compare what effects, if any, an immersive 3D virtual environment would have upon subjects’ intercultural sensitivity, compared to a 2D web environment. Significant gains in intercultural sensitivity were found, with subjects exposed to the Second Life-based immersive virtual environment scoring higher than web-based subjects, both toward other cultures in general and toward Chinese culture in particular. An interaction effect for gender and channel was found, with males experiencing greater intercultural sensitivity outcomes than in a web environment. These empirical findings add to our theoretical understanding of channel effects and intercultural sensitivity. The results can guide cultural instructors or trainers toward the best platforms for content delivery to learners. These findings are worthy of future investigation to better understand their application in educational endeavors as well as in other fields.
Keywords3D Immersive virtual environment Web Intercultural sensitivity Gender
- Brislin, R. W., Cushner, K., Cherrie, C., & Yong, M. (1986). Intercultural interactions: A practical guide. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cain Miller, C. (2009, October 22). A virtual clinic to treat the stresses of war. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/a-virtual-clinic-to-treat-the-stresses-of-war/.
- Chen, G.-M., & Starosta, W. J. (1996). Intercultural communication competence: A synthesis. In B. R. Burleson (Ed.), Communication yearbook (Vol. 19, pp. 353–384). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Chen, G.-M., & Starosta, W. J. (1998). Foundations of intercultural communication. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Chen, G.-M., & Starosta, W. J. (2000). The development and validation of the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association. Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
- Chia, N. K. H., & Li, J. (2012). Design of a generic questionnaire for reflective evaluation of a virtual reality-based intervention using virtual dolphins for children with autism. International Journal of Special Education, 27(3), 45–53.Google Scholar
- Colzato, L. S., van den Wildenberg, W. P. M., Zmigrod, S., & Hommel, B. (2013). Action video gaming and cognitive control: Playing first person shooter games is associated with improvement in working memory but not action inhibition. Psychological Research, 77(2), 234–239. doi:10.1007/s00426-012-0415-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- de Castell, S., Jenson, J., & Larios, H. (2015). Gaming experience and spatial learning in a virtual Morris Water Maze. Virtual Worlds Research, 8(1), 1–18.Google Scholar
- Dong, Q., Day, K. D., & Collaço, C. M. (2008). Overcoming ethnocentrism through developing intercultural communication sensitivity and multiculturalism. Human Communication, 11(1), 27–38.Google Scholar
- Etengoff, A. (2008, December 29). Soldiers get virtual reality training. IT Examiner.com. Retrieved from http://www.itexaminer.com/soldiers-get-virtual-reality-training.aspx.
- Fishwick, P., Henderson, J., Fresh, E., Futterknecht, F., & Hamilton, B. (2008). Simulating culture: An experiment using a multi-user virtual environment. In S. J. Mason, R. R. Hill, L. Mönch, O. Rose, T. Jefferson, & J. W. Fowler (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2008 Winter Simulation Conference (pp. 786–794). Piscataway, NJ: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.Google Scholar
- Fritz, W., Möllenberg, A., & Chen, G.-M. (2001). Measuring intercultural sensitivity in different cultural context. Paper presented at the biannual meeting of the International Association for Intercultural Communication Studies. Hong Kong.Google Scholar
- Hair, J. F., Anderson, R. E., Tatham, R. L., & Black, W. C. (1998). Multivariate data analysis (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Hartley, M., Ludlow, B., & Duff, M. (2015). Second Life®: A 3D virtual immersive environment for teacher preparation courses in a distance education program. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 34(3), 21–25.Google Scholar
- Henderson, J., Fishwick, P., Fresh, E., Futterknecht, F., & Hamilton, B. (2008). An immersive learning simulation environment for Chinese culture. In Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (IITSEC) Orlando, Florida, paper 8344 (pp. 1–12).Google Scholar
- Holtz, S. (2007). Another world. Communication World, 243(May/June), 16–19.Google Scholar
- Jain, S. (2013). Experiential training for enhancing intercultural sensitivity. Journal of Cultural Diversity, 20(1), 15–20.Google Scholar
- Johnston, G. (2007, March 12). A whole new virtual world: Media companies make 3D connections on Second Life and beyond. Broadcasting and Cable, p. 12.Google Scholar
- Kamhawi, R., & Grabe, M. (2007). Why women are not watching: Gender differences in responding to negative, positive, and valence-ambiguous TV news. Paper presented to the meeting of the International Communication Association. San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
- Kaupins, G. (2002). Trainer opinions of selected computer-based training methods. Journal of Education for Business, 77(July/August), 319–323.Google Scholar
- Kazakova, S., Cauberghe, V., Pandalaere, M., & De Pelsmacker, P. (2014). Players’ expertise and competition with others shape the satisfaction of competence needs, gaming gratifications, and contingent self-esteem in a gaming context. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(1), 26–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Knobloch-Westerwick, S., Brück, J., & Hastall, M. R. (2006). The gender news use divide: Impacts of sex, gender, self-esteem, achievement and affiliation motivations on German news readers’ exposure to news topics. Communications—The European Journal of Communication, 31, 329–345. doi:10.1515/COMMUN.2006.021.Google Scholar
- Landis, D., & Bhagat, R. S. (1996). Handbook of intercultural training (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Lane, H. C. (2009). Promoting metacognition in immersive cultural learning environments. In J. A. Jacko (Ed.), Human-computer interaction, Part IV, HCII, 2009. LNCS 5613 (pp. 129–139). Berlin: Springer. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-02583-9_15.
- Lee, K. M., & Peng, W. (2006). What do we know about social and psychological effects of computer games? A comprehensive review of the current literature. In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games: Motives, responses and consequences (pp. 325–346). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Lieberman, D. A. (1997). Interactive video games for health promotion: Effects on knowledge, self-efficacy, social support, and health. In R. L. Street Jr. & W. R. Gold (Eds.), Health promotion and interactive technology: Theoretical applications and future directions (pp. 103–120). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Lieberman, D. A. (2006). What can we learn from playing interactive games? In P. Vorderer & J. Bryant (Eds.), Playing video games: Motives, responses and consequences (pp. 379–398). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Mandel, D. (2001). Muslims on the silver screen. Middle East Quarterly, 8(2), 19–30.Google Scholar
- Michael, D., & Chen, S. (2006). Serious games: Games that education, train, and inform. Boston: Thompson Course Technology.Google Scholar
- Mozilla Foundation. (2016, March 2). What is the difference between webpage, website, web server, and search engine? Retrieved from https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/Common_questions/Pages_sites_servers_and_search_engines.
- Peng, S.-Y., Rangsipaht, S., & Thaipakdee, S. (2005). Measuring intercultural sensitivity: A comparative study of ethnic Chinese and Thai nationals. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 34(2), 119–137.Google Scholar
- Prathap, D. P., & Ponnusamy, K. A. (2009). A comparison of mass media channels in terms of knowledge retention. International Journal of Instructional Media, 36(1), 73–79.Google Scholar
- Savukynas, V. (2003). The other in society: Stereotypes and identity. Dialogue & Universalism, 13(1/2), 103–120.Google Scholar
- Seidel, G. (1981). Cross-cultural training procedures: Their theoretical framework and evaluation. In S. Bochner (Ed.), The mediating person: Bridges between cultures (pp. 184–214). Cambridge, MA: G. K. Hall and Co. and Schenkman Publishing.Google Scholar
- Vargas, J. A. (2006, February 14). Virtual reality prepares soldiers for war. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/13/AR2006021302437.html.
- Weinberger, M. (2015, March 29). This company was 13 years early to virtual reality—And it’s getting ready to try again. Business Insider. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/second-life-is-still-around-and-getting-ready-to-conquer-virtual-reality-2015-3.