Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version

11-18-2018

Advisor

Michael Platt, Feng Sheng

Abstract

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share others emotions (Batson, 1991). It is key in social relationships. Empathic concerns increase if the perceiver and target share common membership in a social category (Horstein,1978). Past literature has shown that people value others’ pain similar to how they value their own pain, to the extent that they empathize with the other person. The neural circuits activated in response to another’s pain is in the self’s ACC neural responses, an unconscious affect response, are weakened by race-defined intergroup relationships (Xu et al, 2009). In this study, we want to examine the effect of political belief bias on a person’s empathy for pain towards political ingroup and outgroup members. If political belief bias is proven in a person’s empathy for pain, the result will have significant social implications. Specifically, it can help us gain a better understanding of principal-agent relationships such as attorney and client, doctor and patient, donor and recipient.

Keywords

Empathy, Psychology, Neuroscience

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Date Posted:18 November 2018

 

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