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.
Nesdale, D., Griffiths, J., Durkin, K., & Maass, A. (2005). Empathy, group norms and children's ethnic attitudes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26(6), 623-637. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2005.08.003