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Immersive audiovisual narratives as pro-social agents: Studies on their formulation, consumption, and media effects

18.05.2023 08:38 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Special monograph

Deadline: December 15, 2023

Through using extended reality (XR) technologies, users can engage in immersive environments and stories. With the hype of the metaverse, the usage of augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and particularly virtual reality (VR) technologies has expanded quickly in recent years. These technologies have applications in a variety of industries, including entertainment, education, and healthcare. An area of growing interest is its use as a prosocial tool, creating and experimenting with immersive VR content that aims to encourage positive social behaviors and interactions in the audience, even though its use and application has primarily been studied in the field of video games. Prosociality is developing as a key concept for the betterment of contemporary communities, in which individuals adopt more polarized views, in the present environment of the so-called era of misinformation. By expanding previous approaches to the term (Chacón, 1986; Amato, 1983; Olivar, 1998), González Portal (2000) defined prosocial behavior as "all positive social behavior with or without altruistic motivation" (quoted in Auné et al., 2014).

A well-known paradigm for analyzing how individuals learn and take on new behaviors is the social cognitive theory (SCT) (Bandura, 1986, 1991, 2001). According to SCT, behavior is impacted by a mix of personal (such beliefs and attitudes) and environmental (like social norms and modeling) elements. Technology may be considered as a technique of manipulating these environmental characteristics in the context of immersive prosocial media to increase the transmission of positive social attitudes and values. The immersive nature of immersive media allows for the experience of situations and environments that may be difficult or impossible to replicate in the real world. VR enables the user to become an active participant in the story they are experiencing, improving the relationship between the audience and the storytelling while inspiring positive attitudes and feelings in them, such as empathy, compassion, and collaboration. This experience can be strengthened through social modeling, in which users watch and mimic the behaviors of others in the VR environment, or by assuming the position of the other through perspective taking experiences (Herrera et al., 2018) by embodying the other through an avatar (embodiment).

According to the theory of embodiment cognition (Barsalou, 2008), physically experiences, such as interactions with our surroundings and other people, shape our ideas and behaviors. The immersive quality of VR may produce a sensation of presence that makes the virtual environment appear real and present in the given situation. The user's ideas, attitudes, behaviors, and social interactions can all be affected by this experience. Therefore, it can be viewed as an addition to SCT as a framework for comprehending the use of VR as a prosocial tool. Numerous cognitive and emotional processes can be influenced by embodied experiences, according to research. For instance, VR simulations of walking help elderly persons' cognitive performance (Riva et al., 2017). Immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences of intergroup encounter have been utilized to foster prosocial behavior by boosting empathy and lowering stress and prejudice in such circumstances (Banakou et al., 2016; González-Franco et al., 2016; Stelzmann et al., 2021; Tassinari et al., 2022). Despite the growing research efforts and interest in the potential prosocial effects of immersive VR technologies, it is important to continue investigating these issues as well as any potential ethical and moral ramifications of their use in the field of communication.

This monographic issue proposes a critical examination of the production of immersive content and its application to prosocial goals. We, therefore, seeking proposals that contribute to the investigation and analysis of the impacts of prosocial immersive VR storytelling from the perspective of communication and media effects. From their production and consumption models, methods that concentrate on both technological factors and the formal characteristics required for their formulation. We invite participation with empirical and theoretical research. We encourage a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, experimental research and case studies that fall within the following thematic lines and potential research questions, but are not restricted to them:

Thematic lines:

- Examining immersive VR, AR, and MR content to improve contemporary communities.

- Historical traces of prosocial usage and applications of immersive technology.

- Studies of the scientific literature on the use of immersive technologies and their prosocial effects, including scoping reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses.

- The use of immersive technology as social change agents.

- Prosocial immersive narrative analysis.

- The use of immersive technology for social advocacy/activism.

- Measuring experiences of the prosocial effects of immersive narratives.

- Researching media impact measurement techniques in the realm of immersive storytelling.

- Methodological approaches for evaluating the effects of immersive prosocial narratives.

- Research on the formal and technological aspects of immersive prosocial storytelling.

- The development of hybrid immersive audiovisual creations.

- The transition of linear products in the audiovisual medium to immersive settings and experiences.

Research questions:

- How are processes of change toward prosocial behavior impacted by VR, AR, and/or MR?

- What techniques and arrangements are used in the design and production of immersive experiences to produce a prosocial influence on the audience?

- What aspects of an immersive piece of content's design could work against its ability to have a positive social impact?

- What experimental approaches are best suitable for evaluating the effects of immersive storytelling from an ecological perspective?

- What specific measures or evaluation tools are effective for assessing the prosocial impact of immersive VR content?

- How may immersive story interfaces for VR, AR, and/or MR be created to maximize their beneficial effects? 

- What ethical and moral ramifications can immersive audiovisual projects for good causes have, and should they be considered?

- What risks and effects result from the use of these technologies to the development of prosocial models?

Multidisciplinary approaches are possible and can originate from a variety of fields, including human-computer interaction, psychology, digital humanities, and communication.

This special monograph is a component of the "Immersive prosocial audiovisual narratives: measuring their impact on society and analysing their formal and technological characteristics" project, which is supported by the AICO call of the Conselleria d'Innovació, Universitats, Ciència i Societat Digital de la Generalitat Valenciana (CIAICO/2021/258, 2022-2044).


Amato, P. R. (1983). Helping behavior in urban and rural environments: Field studies based on a taxonomic organization of helping episodes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45(3), 571.

Auné, S. E., Blum, G. D., Abal, F. J. P., Lozzia, G. S., & Attorresi, H. F. (2014). La conducta prosocial: Estado actual de la investigación. Perspectivas en Psicología, 11(2), 21-33.

Banakou, D., Hanumanthu, P. D., & Slater, M. (2016). Virtual embodiment of white people in a black virtual body leads to a sustained reduction in their implicit racial bias. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 601.

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory.

Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Bandura, A. (1991). Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action. En W. M. Kurtines & J. L. Gewirtz (Eds.), Handbook of moral behavior and development: Theory, research and applications (Vol. 1, pp. 71-129). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory of mass communication. Media psychology, 3(3), 265-299.

Barsalou, L. W. (2008). Grounded cognition. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 617-645.

Chacón, F. (1986). Una aproximación al concepto psicosocial de altruismo. Boletín de Psicología, 11, 41-62.

Gonzalez-Franco, M., Bellido, A. I., Blom, K. J., Slater, M., & Rodriguez-Fornells, A. (2016). The neurological traces of look-alike avatars. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 10, 392.

González Portal, M. D. (2000). Conducta prosocial: Evaluación e Intervención. Madrid: Morata.

Herrera, F., Bailenson, J., Weisz, E., Ogle, E., & Zaki, J. (2018). Building long-term empathy: A large-scale comparison of traditional and virtual reality perspective-taking. PloS one, 13(10), e0204494.

Olivar, R. R. (1998). El uso educativo de la televisión como optimizadora de la prosocialidad. Psychosocial Intervention, 7(3), 363-378.

Riva, G. (2017). Virtual reality in the treatment of eating and weight disorders. Psychological Medicine, 47(14), 2567-2568.

Stelzmann, D., Toth, R., & Schieferdecker, D. (2021). Can intergroup contact in virtual reality (VR) reduce stigmatization against people with schizophrenia?. Journal of clinical medicine, 10(13), 2961.

Tassinari, M., Aulbach, M. B., & Jasinskaja-Lahti, I. (2022). Investigating the influence of intergroup contact in virtual reality on empathy: an exploratory study using AltspaceVR. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 815497.


Dr. Francisco-Julián Martínez-Cano – Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (

Begoña Ivárs-Nicolás – Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche (

Richard Lachman – Toronto Metropolitan University (

Editor of the monograph: Nereida López Vidales (


Deadline for receipt of articles: from December, 15, 2023 until January, 30, 2024.

Deadline by which authors will receive a response: Before March, 15, 2024.

Publication date of the monograph: June, 1, 2024.


1st) Articles must be submitted through the OJS platform, following the journal's rules and making sure to submit a blind version.

The articles will be evaluated by blind peers and must follow the journal's rules, which can be consulted at the following link:

In order for the article to be reviewed, it is compulsory that:

- the article arrives adapted to the template. (

- the article comes in a blind version.

- the document of transfer of rights is attached.

- the article is accompanied by a Turnitin report (or similar), prepared by the author (articles with more than 35% similarity, excluding the bibliography, will not be accepted).

2º) Once sent to OJS, an email will be sent to the editor of the monograph, who will acknowledge receipt within a maximum period of one week.

Doubts about this monograph can also be resolved through the above e-mail addresses. 

A maximum of 7 articles will be published.


In addition to being uploaded to the platform (OJS), the articles have to be sent simultaneously to the following 4 addresses:,,,, and

Articles will be peer-reviewed and must follow the journal's guidelines, which can be found at the following link:



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