Zebulun Wood, lecturer and co-director of the undergraduate Media Arts and Science program, will lead a team from the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI as part of a $1.6 million NIH R61 Phase 1 Exploratory/Development Grant recently awarded to Tom Hummer, assistant research professor of psychiatry at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Children and adolescents with ODD or CD, collectively knows as disruptive behavioral disorders (DBDs), often have difficulties with social perspective taking that contribute to poor empathy, disruptive behaviors, and aggression.

Wood and selected students from the School of Informatics and Computing will create multiple scenarios that children might experience in the real world, such as in a school cafeteria, classroom, or living room.

"We want to create situations that kids really live through, so they can better understand all sides of the interactions they have every day," says Hummer.

Wood says, "The Media Arts and Science students' skills acquired from the 3D animation and game design and development specializations are perfectly aligned to create these empathy training exercises for the study.

With positive data, there is a large promise to expand the use of VR in mental health domains such as meditation or phobias, or PTSD.

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