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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

Experiments 1 and 2, SCR mean values as a function of time and race of target people. (A) Reactions to painful stimuli, (B) Reactions to harmless stimuli.
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Figure 4: Experiments 1 and 2, SCR mean values as a function of time and race of target people. (A) Reactions to painful stimuli, (B) Reactions to harmless stimuli.

Mentions: Taken together our findings demonstrate a clear pattern of responses to pain: the extent to which Caucasian observers share the pain experience of other people is affected by the race of the person in pain (Figure 4A). Before the stimulus onset, the SCR values show stochastic variations. After observing a painful stimulus administered to the target person, participants’ SCR values increase more for Caucasian targets than for target people of the other races, and the least for African targets.


Racism and the empathy for pain on our skin.

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

Experiments 1 and 2, SCR mean values as a function of time and race of target people. (A) Reactions to painful stimuli, (B) Reactions to harmless stimuli.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Experiments 1 and 2, SCR mean values as a function of time and race of target people. (A) Reactions to painful stimuli, (B) Reactions to harmless stimuli.
Mentions: Taken together our findings demonstrate a clear pattern of responses to pain: the extent to which Caucasian observers share the pain experience of other people is affected by the race of the person in pain (Figure 4A). Before the stimulus onset, the SCR values show stochastic variations. After observing a painful stimulus administered to the target person, participants’ SCR values increase more for Caucasian targets than for target people of the other races, and the least for African targets.

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