Empathy Lens Logo

In an era ripe with distrust and misunderstanding, empathy can be difficult to achieve. 

The Empathy Lens takes a broad approach towards leveraging virtual and immersive technologies to help individuals learn about themselves and to understand others. The Empathy Lens utilizes advances in XR technology to help people experience what someone else is thinking and feeling.

Prior research has shown that understanding the perspective of another (i.e., perspective-taking) can foster empathy and reduce implicit bias to change behaviors, drive collaboration, and establish an environment for long term success.



"I felt that I was able to learn a bit about other folks' perspectives and how they respond and interpret the world and their own thoughts differently than I do." - SDSU Graduate Student


Mission Statement 

The mission of the Empathy Lens is to integrate media, story, scenario, setting into immersive experiences:

  • To share the experiences of others.
  • To build and strengthen understanding and profound connections with others and situations outside our own. (CIE offers “equity-minded”? To use here?)
  • To broaden and change our perceptions of others and the world. 
  • To move, connect, and/or engage through public policy awareness and thereby to influence culture and facilitate social reform


The Empathy Lens is a cross-campus collaboration, including faculty, students, executive leaders, and the following organizations:

Empathy Lens Participant Feedback

"I feel like these are little mysteries that unfold after each viewing. Being able to see someone else's perspective is a very powerful way to learn." -EDL 616 Student

Hearing the internal dialogue of the team members led me to a deeper level of thinking in regards to microaggressions that may be happening at my own place of work.  I think it is important to continue trying to understand the perspectives that people different from you may have and this was a great tool to get a rare, true glimpse into the mindsets of others." -EDL 615 Student

Current Emapthy Lens Projects

Topics we are currently addressing include:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Police and Community Relations
  • Social Disparities of Health
  • The Kumeyaay Living Land Acknowledgement 

Future Empathy Lens Opportunities

Topics we would like to address in future projects include:

  • Mental Health
  • Physical Disability
  • Invisible Disability
  • Homelessness
  • Voter Suppression
  • Abortion Rights
  • Undocumented Students
  • Business/Consumer Relations
  • Group Dynamics/Team Leadership
  • Lens of Nature


Actors with Director Ethan Garcia between takes of filming a teacher meeting scenario