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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1997 Jan;72(1):105-18.

Empathy and attitudes: can feeling for a member of a stigmatized group improve feelings toward the group?

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Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045-2160, USA.


Results of 3 experiments suggest that feeling empathy for a member of a stigmatized group can improve attitudes toward the group as a whole. In Experiments 1 and 2, inducing empathy for a young woman with AIDS (Experiment 1) or a homeless man (Experiment 2) led to more positive attitudes toward people with AIDS or toward the homeless, respectively. Experiment 3 tested possible limits of the empathy-attitude effect by inducing empathy toward a member of a highly stigmatized group, convicted murderers, and measuring attitudes toward this group immediately and then 1-2 weeks later. Results provided only weak evidence of improved attitudes toward murderers immediately but strong evidence of improved attitudes 1-2 weeks later.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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