Chris Haynes – Empathy & Immigration Policy Preferences: The Interactive Pathway for Permissive Change

Social psychology research has shown that priming both emotion-giving and perspective-taking empathy can increase positive attitudes towards other groups. Yet, political scientists have yet to explore the attitudinal implications of this emotional construct in a political context. However, in a previous pilot study of students, Chris Haynes finds evidence that empathy can have a permissive effect on people’s immigration policy preferences.


Here, he builds on these insights by presenting the results of two experiments, one laboratory and one online M-Turk, which evaluate the following expectations:


First, he argues that while empathy is multidimensional, empathic effects on immigration policy preferences depend largely on the presence of both emotion-giving and perspective-taking empathy.  


Second, he asserts that these effects will be moderated by the permissive effects of dispositional empathy.