Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Michael Platt, Feng Sheng


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.


Empathy, Psychology, Neuroscience



Date Posted: 05 December 2018


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.