Happy New Year!
We would like to invite you to a talk by Ronja Demel (Humboldt University of Berlin) titled:
“Can the solidarity gap be closed? Empathy as predictor for migration friendly policies and feeling closer to outgroups in times of war.” Please find the abstract below.
The talk will take place on Thursday (12 January) at 16:30, at GEMI (seminar room 1.134).
Abstract: Empathy has been defined as the ability to understand another person’s situations, feelings, and motives and to foster the perceived commonality between people. However, several studies have found that empathy is lower when it is directed towards people that are identified as an outgroup. Furthermore, emotional (empathic concern) and cognitive (perspective taking) facets of empathy might have diverging effects on attitudes towards different in- and outgroups. My talk focuses on a current research project where we investigate which categories people use to define in- and outgroups and whether racial stereotypes are evident in the area of categorizing refugees. Furthermore, we want to understand how different facets of empathy (empathic concern vs perspective taking) might facilitate to bridge the solidarity gap between the stereotypical portrayal of refugees. In a first panel study, we took Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine as a case to test the effect of empathic concern and perspective taking on attitudes towards refugee friendly policies and to test whether feelings of interpersonal closeness differ between social groups. Results show that higher empathic concern is a significant predictor for refugee friendly policies in the Ukrainian war. Furthermore, racist stereotypes seem to be at play on how close one feels to one’s ingroup (Germans) versus different refugee outgroups (Ukrainian vs. Syrian) and between these outgroups. However, this gap diminishes with increased empathic concern and perspective taking. I will discuss these findings and offer a prospect for further research on ingroup/outgroup categorization in the refugee context.