Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Sean Flynn

Reader 2

Melissa Mesinas


Humans are social animals needing socialization and community to survive. People want to be loved and accepted by those around them. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belonging and love are among some of the most basic of human desires. Human relationships develop and strengthen through our expression of empathy; a strong relationship cannot thrive or even survive without it. Empathy is an all-encompassing term in psychology that can be understood through a neurological, behavioral, and cognitive lens. Humans are biologically wired to empathize through the utilization of our senses. However, various technologies such as radio, television and cell phones in the 20 century, the internet and social media in the 21st, mediate human communications impacting our ability to empathize. Research indicates an erosion of human empathy due to these technologies. The Metaverse, the next evolution of social media, is a new technology which consists of virtual, multi-user, 3D worlds and augmented realities. Based on the technological advances within the Metaverse, it has been assumed that it will impact our human senses more powerfully than prior communications technologies, further threatening our ability to feel empathy. The consequences of eroding empathy can have significant negative consequences for humanity, leading to issues ranging from increased mental illness, criminal behaviors, social division, and even destructive wars. Understanding the impact of the Metaverse on empathy is vital. Finding ways to ensure that the Metaverse is harnessed in a way that does not erode human empathy further, and if possible enhance it, is possibly one of the most important challenges we have to tackle as a society in the 21st century. Our happiness, social harmony, the environment and perhaps even the very survival of human civilization might depend on how we manage the coming era of the Metaverse.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.