Limits...
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 2: SCR means as a function of stimulus type and the race of the person in pain.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3108582&req=5

Figure 2: Experiment 2: SCR means as a function of stimulus type and the race of the person in pain.

Mentions: Results replicated the overall stronger reaction to painful than to harmless stimuli [F(1,45) = 36.63, P < 0.001]. Target race significantly moderated the EI [F(2,90) = 4.26, P = 0.01; Figure 2]. The EI was significant for Caucasian [F(1,45) = 23.85, P < 0.0001, η2 = 0.346] and Asian [F(1,45) = 13.9, P = 0.0005, η2 = 0.225] but not for African actors [F(1,45) = 1.36, P = 0.24, η2 = 0.029]. Furthermore, the EI was statistically lower for Africans than for Caucasians [F(1,45) = 6.64, P = 0.01] targets (Figure 2). As for Experiment 1, we observed no race differences in reactions for harmless stimuli [F(2,90) = 0.1, P = 0.9] and a race significant effect on the reaction for other people's pain [F(2,90) = 7.55, P < 0.001]. The SCR and the IAT scores were analyzed together. In the IAT used, greater scores indicate faster associations of “Caucasians” with positive concepts and “Africans” with negative concepts, thus a stronger racial bias against “Africans.” The IAT scores were included in a GLM comprising the SCR values elicited only by Africans and Caucasians stimuli (the two races included in the IAT). The IAT scores were included in the model as a continuous independent variable. As typically found with the race IAT, Caucasian observers more strongly associated negative stereotypes with Africans than with Caucasians, [F(1,46) = 34.45, P < 0.001]. Most importantly, the strength of the implicit race bias correlates with the reduced empathy for Africans’ pain. We found that the IAT scores of the observers significantly predict the moderating effect of race on the reaction for pain [F(1,43) = 4.52, P = 0.03]. Simple slope analysis (Aiken and West, 1991) revealed that the greater the participant racial bias, the greater the difference between the empathic responses toward Caucasians with respect to Africans (Figure 3). Data show that participants with low race bias (1 SD below sample average) are not affected by the race moderating effect on the empathic responses to actors’ pain (Figure 3B). Participants EI is significantly greater than zero [F(1,45) = 5.22, P = 0.02] but it's not moderated by the race of the person in pain [F(1,45) = 0.14, P = 0.70] and there are no differences in the overall reactions for Caucasians and Africans [F(1,45) = 1.28, P = 0.25]. On the other hand, data show that for participants with an high race bias (IAT score 1 SD above the sample average) EI is significant greater than zero [F(1,45) = 14.52, P = 0.0001] and the race of the person in pain significantly moderates the empathic reactions [F(1,45) = 13.29, P = 0.0003; cf. Figure 3A].


Racism and the empathy for pain on our skin.

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

Experiment 2: SCR means as a function of stimulus type and the race of the person in pain.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 2: Experiment 2: SCR means as a function of stimulus type and the race of the person in pain.
Mentions: Results replicated the overall stronger reaction to painful than to harmless stimuli [F(1,45) = 36.63, P < 0.001]. Target race significantly moderated the EI [F(2,90) = 4.26, P = 0.01; Figure 2]. The EI was significant for Caucasian [F(1,45) = 23.85, P < 0.0001, η2 = 0.346] and Asian [F(1,45) = 13.9, P = 0.0005, η2 = 0.225] but not for African actors [F(1,45) = 1.36, P = 0.24, η2 = 0.029]. Furthermore, the EI was statistically lower for Africans than for Caucasians [F(1,45) = 6.64, P = 0.01] targets (Figure 2). As for Experiment 1, we observed no race differences in reactions for harmless stimuli [F(2,90) = 0.1, P = 0.9] and a race significant effect on the reaction for other people's pain [F(2,90) = 7.55, P < 0.001]. The SCR and the IAT scores were analyzed together. In the IAT used, greater scores indicate faster associations of “Caucasians” with positive concepts and “Africans” with negative concepts, thus a stronger racial bias against “Africans.” The IAT scores were included in a GLM comprising the SCR values elicited only by Africans and Caucasians stimuli (the two races included in the IAT). The IAT scores were included in the model as a continuous independent variable. As typically found with the race IAT, Caucasian observers more strongly associated negative stereotypes with Africans than with Caucasians, [F(1,46) = 34.45, P < 0.001]. Most importantly, the strength of the implicit race bias correlates with the reduced empathy for Africans’ pain. We found that the IAT scores of the observers significantly predict the moderating effect of race on the reaction for pain [F(1,43) = 4.52, P = 0.03]. Simple slope analysis (Aiken and West, 1991) revealed that the greater the participant racial bias, the greater the difference between the empathic responses toward Caucasians with respect to Africans (Figure 3). Data show that participants with low race bias (1 SD below sample average) are not affected by the race moderating effect on the empathic responses to actors’ pain (Figure 3B). Participants EI is significantly greater than zero [F(1,45) = 5.22, P = 0.02] but it's not moderated by the race of the person in pain [F(1,45) = 0.14, P = 0.70] and there are no differences in the overall reactions for Caucasians and Africans [F(1,45) = 1.28, P = 0.25]. On the other hand, data show that for participants with an high race bias (IAT score 1 SD above the sample average) EI is significant greater than zero [F(1,45) = 14.52, P = 0.0001] and the race of the person in pain significantly moderates the empathic reactions [F(1,45) = 13.29, P = 0.0003; cf. Figure 3A].

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