Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

This research integrates the theoretical perspectives of three separate but related areas of social-psychological research to hypothesize about relationships between the emotion of empathy and an individual's effort to extend helping behaviors to out-groups. The literatures on social justice, prosocial behavior, and group stereotypes are reviewed. An experimental study manipulated empathic concern for an out-group by varying the perspective through which participants interpret an experience that is had by a fictional immigrant group to America. In addition, the study manipulated the stereotypes that characterized the immigrant group. The effects of these independent variable manipulations on psychometric measures of empathic concern, helping behaviors, identity considerations, and personal distress were assessed. Findings suggest that instructions to take the perspective of an out-group described as socially cold and incompetent results in significantly less helping compared to a control group. Results are discussed in reference to the theory and practice of intergroup relations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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