Cognitive and affective empathy effects on perception of migrants and prejudices

Abstract : Improving intergroup attitudes and relationships have been largely studied. Empathy appears to play a mediational role between perspective taking and prejudices or attitudes towards out-groups (Baston et al., 1997; Finlay & Stephan, 2000; Vescio et al., 2003). The aim of this exploratory study is to examine how cognitive and emotional components of empathy (Jolliffe & & Farrington, 2006) were linked to the perception of immigrant targets who behave depending on the four acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization) as defined by Berry (1997). Participants first filled in a French version of the Basic Empathic Scale. Second, they read and evaluated one of the four acculurative migrant profiles (Maisonneuve & Testé; 2007) and third they filled in the blatant and subtle prejudices questionnaire (Pettigrew & Meertens, 1995). The results replicated preference for integration before assimilation and marginalization. Separated profiles were less appreciated than the three others. More interestingly, an interaction effect between conservation and emotional empathy suggests that the more people declare themselves high on the emotional component of empathy, the more they appreciate the target that conserves his culture. On subtle prejudice, no interaction effect was found. But, on blatant prejudice, interaction effects were obtained between acculturative strategies and the two components of empathy. For example, concerning participants who read the scenario of separation, the higher they declared themselves on emotional component of empathy, the less they declare blatant prejudice. More surprisingly, for participants who were in the “assimilation” condition, the higher they declared themselves on cognitive component of empathy, the higher they scored on blatant prejudice. Theoretical contributions of this study are discussed as the importance to distinguish the effects of emotional and cognitive components of empathy on perception of migrants and prejudices, depending on the migrants’ acculturative strategies. Finally, implications of these results are proposed.
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Christelle Maisonneuve, Anne Taillandier-Schmitt. Cognitive and affective empathy effects on perception of migrants and prejudices. Unity, Diversity and Culture, XXII Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2014, Reims, France. pp.145-150. ⟨hal-01723499⟩

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