FutureU is a novel and scalable behavioral intervention to increase future-orientation in offenders by connecting them to their future self. The research program, which was started with the (Dutch) Probation Service as a partner and stakeholder, is premised on the well-established notion that delinquents often live like there is no tomorrow because that tomorrow is not cognitively present in their minds. The intervention uses virtual reality and a smartphone application to present late adolescents / young adults with a virtual version of their future self and allows them to interact with this future self to make them more aware of the future and more inclined to take the long-term consequences of their behavior into account. FutureU, which is ERC-funded (ERC Consolidator Grant 772911), aligns with the short-term mindsets and crime project in the sense that it assumes that disregard for the future underlies the choice for crime and that future-orientation is in fact a malleable characteristic rather than a stable disposition of people.
In this episode Christopher Murphy talks with Aniek Siezenga, a doctoral researcher working on the FutureU project developed by Jean-Louis van Gelder, about how a VR program “ages” its participants to make them more aware of the impact that present actions and decisions can have on their future self.