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Empathy and Ethnicity: The Ethnic Empathy Bias
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to overview studies examining the effect ethnicity has on the neural and physiological responses associated with empathy and the underlying mechanisms behind this effect.  It has been revealed that ethnicity can modulate the empathic responses in that faster physiological arousal and greater sensorimotor resonance occurs during the perception of own ethnic members in suffering. A reduction and even total absence of activity in empathy-associated brain regions such as anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, temporo partial junction and medial prefrontal cortex has further been seen during the perception of other ethnic members in pain. There have however been studies where ethnicity has not had an effect on empathic responses, indicating that it might not be ethnicity per se but instead other underlying mechanisms that causes the difference in empathic responses. There is an ongoing debate on which these mechanisms might be. It has been suggested that it might be attitudes, similarity and familiarity with the target, general ingroup bias, differences in perceptual processes and culture. The thesis will end with a discussion on how the results can be interpreted, the implications of the results, proposals for future research directions and a conclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 55 p.
Keyword [en]
empathy, ethnicity, attitudes, outgroup, culture, pain, ACC, AI, TPJ, mPFC
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-10139OAI: diva2:758793
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Psychological Coach
Available from: 2014-11-12 Created: 2014-10-28 Last updated: 2014-11-12Bibliographically approved

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