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Racism and the empathy for pain on our skin.

Forgiarini M, Gallucci M, Maravita A - Front Psychol (2011)

Bottom Line: In particular, empathy for pain is a source of deep emotional feelings and a strong trigger of pro-social behavior.Measuring participants' physiological arousal, we found that Caucasian observers reacted to pain suffered by African people significantly less than to pain of Caucasian people.The role of others' race in moderating empathic reactions is a crucial clue for understanding to what extent social interactions, and possibly integration, may be influenced by deeply rooted automatic and uncontrollable responses.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca Milan, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Empathy is a critical function regulating human social life. In particular, empathy for pain is a source of deep emotional feelings and a strong trigger of pro-social behavior. We investigated the existence of a racial bias in the emotional reaction to other people's pain and its link with implicit racist biases. Measuring participants' physiological arousal, we found that Caucasian observers reacted to pain suffered by African people significantly less than to pain of Caucasian people. The reduced reaction to the pain of African individuals was also correlated with the observers' individual implicit race bias. The role of others' race in moderating empathic reactions is a crucial clue for understanding to what extent social interactions, and possibly integration, may be influenced by deeply rooted automatic and uncontrollable responses.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experiment 1: mean SCR and standard errors as a function of stimulus type and actor's race. Responses to pain were always greater than those to the harmless stimuli.
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Figure 1: Experiment 1: mean SCR and standard errors as a function of stimulus type and actor's race. Responses to pain were always greater than those to the harmless stimuli.

Mentions: Crucially, the race of the actor experiencing the painful stimulus significantly moderated the EI [F(2,118) = 3.6, P = 0.03]. Although experimental participants showed a significant EI for Caucasians [F(1,59) = 29.57, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.333], for Africans [F(1,59) = 7.52, P = 0.008, η2 = 0.113], and for Asian images [F(1,59) = 16.99, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.223], the empathic reaction for the Caucasians was significantly greater than that for the Africans [F(1,59) = 7.87, P = 0.006, η2 = 0.117; Figure 1]. Critically, there was no racial effect on the reaction to the harmless stimuli [F(2,118) = 0.09, P = 0.91], a significant moderating effect of target person race was found on the reaction to painful stimuli [F(2,118) = 5.09, P = 0.007]: Reactions to Caucasians painful stimuli were significantly greater than for Africans [t(118) = 2.91, P = 0.004] but not than for Asian targets [t(118) = 1.72, P = 0.08].


Racism and the empathy for pain on our skin.

Forgiarini M, Gallucci M, Maravita A - Front Psychol (2011)

Experiment 1: mean SCR and standard errors as a function of stimulus type and actor's race. Responses to pain were always greater than those to the harmless stimuli.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3108582&req=5

Figure 1: Experiment 1: mean SCR and standard errors as a function of stimulus type and actor's race. Responses to pain were always greater than those to the harmless stimuli.
Mentions: Crucially, the race of the actor experiencing the painful stimulus significantly moderated the EI [F(2,118) = 3.6, P = 0.03]. Although experimental participants showed a significant EI for Caucasians [F(1,59) = 29.57, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.333], for Africans [F(1,59) = 7.52, P = 0.008, η2 = 0.113], and for Asian images [F(1,59) = 16.99, P < 0.001, η2 = 0.223], the empathic reaction for the Caucasians was significantly greater than that for the Africans [F(1,59) = 7.87, P = 0.006, η2 = 0.117; Figure 1]. Critically, there was no racial effect on the reaction to the harmless stimuli [F(2,118) = 0.09, P = 0.91], a significant moderating effect of target person race was found on the reaction to painful stimuli [F(2,118) = 5.09, P = 0.007]: Reactions to Caucasians painful stimuli were significantly greater than for Africans [t(118) = 2.91, P = 0.004] but not than for Asian targets [t(118) = 1.72, P = 0.08].

Bottom Line: In particular, empathy for pain is a source of deep emotional feelings and a strong trigger of pro-social behavior.Measuring participants' physiological arousal, we found that Caucasian observers reacted to pain suffered by African people significantly less than to pain of Caucasian people.The role of others' race in moderating empathic reactions is a crucial clue for understanding to what extent social interactions, and possibly integration, may be influenced by deeply rooted automatic and uncontrollable responses.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Milano-Bicocca Milan, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Empathy is a critical function regulating human social life. In particular, empathy for pain is a source of deep emotional feelings and a strong trigger of pro-social behavior. We investigated the existence of a racial bias in the emotional reaction to other people's pain and its link with implicit racist biases. Measuring participants' physiological arousal, we found that Caucasian observers reacted to pain suffered by African people significantly less than to pain of Caucasian people. The reduced reaction to the pain of African individuals was also correlated with the observers' individual implicit race bias. The role of others' race in moderating empathic reactions is a crucial clue for understanding to what extent social interactions, and possibly integration, may be influenced by deeply rooted automatic and uncontrollable responses.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus