Empathy, group norms and children's ethnic attitudes

Drew Nesdale, Judith Griffiths, Kevin Durkin, Anne Maass

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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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Nesdale, Drew ; Griffiths, Judith ; Durkin, Kevin ; Maass, Anne. / Empathy, group norms and children's ethnic attitudes. In: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. 2005 ; Vol. 26, No. 6. pp. 623-637.
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Empathy, group norms and children's ethnic attitudes. / Nesdale, Drew; Griffiths, Judith; Durkin, Kevin; Maass, Anne.

In: Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 6, 2005, p. 623-637.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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