Skip to main content

Helpful Only in the Abstract?: Ironic Effects of Empathy in Intergroup Interaction

Buy Article:

$43.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


This study tested the hypothesis that empathizing with out-group members is beneficial outside of, but not within, intergroup-contact situations. We predicted that in the context of intergroup interaction, the potential for evaluation would lead individuals' perspective-taking efforts to take on an egocentric and counterproductive flavor. As predicted, when empathy was instantiated during an intergroup exchange, it failed to exert its usual positive effect on intergroup attitudes and led higher-prejudice individuals to derogate an out-group member who was an interaction partner; empathy also blocked the prejudice-reducing influence of intergroup contact. Mediation analyses indicated that activation of negative metastereotypes regarding the out-group's view of the in-group accounted for these effects. The findings, which demonstrate ironic effects of empathy in intergroup interaction, indicate that interventions based on studies of individuals' reactions to out-group members in the abstract might have dramatically different consequences when put into practice in real exchanges between members of different groups.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Manitoba

Publication date: 2009-02-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more