Locating the bias in empathy

Yalçın, Faruk Tayyip (2023) Locating the bias in empathy. [Thesis]

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While empathy generally has a positive outlook, some researchers identified biases that might deem empathy a poor moral guide. One of the most prominent biases is the intergroup empathy bias. Some researchers have suggested that such biases are integral to empathy, meaning that higher empathy can come at the expense of less impartial moral judgments (the Inherent Bias Account). Other researchers disagree, and argue that empathy is regulated by higher-level beliefs, goals and motivations, therefore being more empathic will not cost us our moral integrity (the Higher-level Bias Accounts). Although there has been long theoretical discussions, no empirical work directly compared the two accounts. In the present work, I tried to fill this gap by compared the effects of empathy and higher-level biases on intergroup empathy bias and moral judgment biases. In Study 1 (N = 191), I used a correlational design, and found that higher-level biases predict intergroup empathy bias but empathy does not. Similarly, higher-level biases indirectly predicted moral judgment biases but empathy did not. In Study 2 (N = 206), I replicated the findings of Study 1, and attempted to experimentally test whether bias is inherent to empathy by increasing empathy, and looking at how this influences intergroup empathy bias. Although the experimental procedure did not increase empathy as expected, the replication was successful. Overall, the results largely supported the Higher-level Bias Account over the Inherent Bias Account. However, further research is needed to test alternative approaches to the debate and to as well as the more fine-grained details of both accounts.
Item Type: Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Empathy, Compassion, Intergroup Empathy Bias, Moral Judgments. -- Empati, Merhamet, Gruplararası Empati Yanlılığı, Ahlaki Yargılar.
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Academic programs > Political Science
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Dila Günay
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2023 11:36
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2023 11:36
URI: https://research.sabanciuniv.edu/id/eprint/48725

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