Virtual reality has officially become mainstream. With top-of-the-range headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift available for under £1,000, and cheaper headsets that use smartphones readily available, VR has never been more accessible. But are we using it to the best of its abilities?

In this week’s Science Focus Podcast, we talk to Jeremy Bailenson, Professor of communication at Stanford University and founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, who has been studying virtual reality for two decades.

In his book Experience on Demand (£22.00, W. W. Norton), he explores the powerful effect VR can have when it comes to changing people’s perceptions and behaviours, and he speaks to editor Alexander McNamara about using VR to change the way we perceive racism, to highlight the impact of climate change, and to help us step into the shoes of our sporting heroes.

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Alexander McNamaraOnline Editor, BBC Science Focus

Alexander is the former Online Editor at BBC Science Focus.