The most powerful commissioner of the most popular sport in the United States made a visit to mediaX Thought Leader Jeremy Bailenson’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab to learn how the virtual experiences could improve training, officiating, and also teach players empathy on a variety of social issues.
The visitors from the NFL strapped on the headset and experienced a handful of the simulations that Bailenson and his students have devised to investigate aspects of human behavior.
“That’s unbelievable,” Goodell said as he took off the headset.
After the demo, Bailenson and the NFL contingent discussed the variety of ways that the technology could improve the sport, both for players and the fans. Goodell envisioned re-creating the view from the sideline. “This could let us give fans an experience that only players and coaches get,” Goodell said. Bailenson proposed enhancing the social experience of watching the game at home and celebrating a win with a group of virtual buddies.
The executives were also interested in another focus of Bailenson’s work, which involves investigating how spending time in carefully crafted virtual environments can build empathy and lead to positive changes in real-life behaviors, work that is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
“This is a great way to re-create situations where the player is experiencing stress, and to give them a way to see how their different reactions produce different outcomes,” said visit organizer Michael Huyghue, who has worked in multiple capacities in the NFL and was former commissioner of the United Football League. “We could teach them through virtual experiences how to cope better with these moments.”
Read the entire Stanford News Story by By Bjorn Carey HERE.
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