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2 - Group Empathy Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2021

Cigdem V. Sirin
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
Nicholas A. Valentino
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
José D. Villalobos
Affiliation:
University of Texas, El Paso
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Summary

Chapter 2 introduces Group Empathy Theory. We define empathy as the ability to take the perspective of others and experience their emotions, combined with the motivation to care about their welfare. Outgroup empathy arises when this combination of skill and motivation is directed toward social collectives with whom one has little in common. We expect intergroup empathy to differ from interpersonal empathy and to more powerfully explain political attitudes and behavior. The theory further predicts racial/ethnic differences in group empathy due to variations in socialization patterns and life experiences (such as discrimination). Chapter 2 also discusses how Group Empathy Theory challenges one of the key tenets of Social Identity Theory (SIT) concerning ingroup favoritism and outgroup discrimination. We argue that minorities who identify more strongly with their ingroup will display higher empathy for outgroups – a prediction counterintuitive to SIT. In short, Chapter 2 lays the groundwork for unique theoretical expectations we then test in the subsequent chapters.

Type
Chapter
Information
Seeing Us in Them
Social Divisions and the Politics of Group Empathy
, pp. 20 - 39
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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