Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Daniels College of Business

First Advisor

Dennis P. Wittmer

Second Advisor

Lisa M. Victoravich

Third Advisor

Corey Ciocchetti


Empathy, Experiential learning, Leadership, Moral psychology, Moral reasoning, Virtual reality


This study investigates quantifiable links between virtual reality, moral reasoning, and compassion, contributing to the development of improved pedagogy for moral leadership development through experiential learning. It is the first empirical study to determine how specific virtual reality experiences potentially influence moral reasoning as measured by the DIT-2 (Rest et al., 1999), as well as the possible mediation effects of compassion on this relationship as measured by the Compassion Scale (Pommier et al., 2019). Although pedagogical implications are discussed, including the integration of virtual reality experiences into curriculum, the boundaries of this study are controlled to measure the direct influence of a consistent, repeatable independent variable on the outcomes of compassion and moral reasoning. Results show a significant shift in moral reasoning from personal interest to post-conventional thinking but do not support mediation through compassion. This study helps to build a foundation for the future development of educational and organizational process models that can integrate the advancing technologies of virtual and augmented reality into meaningful, pedagogical applications.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dennis W. Dunivan


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

104 pgs


Social psychology, Ethics, Organizational behavior

Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025