Empathy, group norms and children's ethnic attitudes

Drew Nesdale, Judith Griffiths, Kevin Durkin, Anne Maass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two minimal group studies (Ns = 150, 123) examined the impact of emotional empathy on the ethnic attitudes of 5 to 12-year old white Anglo-Australian children. Study 1 evaluated the relationship between empathy and attitudes towards a same (Anglo-Australian) versus different ethnicity (Pacific Islander) outgroup. A significant empathy × outgroup ethnicity interaction revealed that empathy was unrelated to the children's liking for the same ethnicity outgroup, but that liking for the different ethnicity outgroup increased as empathy increased. Study 2 examined the influence of empathy on attitudes towards the different ethnicity outgroup when the ingroup had a norm of inclusion versus exclusion. A significant empathy × group norm interaction revealed that empathy was unrelated to liking when the ingroup had a norm of exclusion, but that liking for the different ethnicity outgroup increased when the ingroup had a norm of inclusion. Implications of the findings for promoting children's positive attitudes to ethnic minority groups are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-637
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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