How longstanding conflict influences empathy for others

Researchers are now trying to explore why members of opposing conflict groups often fail to show empathy towards each other.

 

MIT postdoc Emile Bruneau and associate professor of cognitive neuroscience Rebecca Saxe are also trying to locate patterns of brain activity that correlate with empathy, in hopes of eventually using such measures to determine how well people respond to reconciliation programs aimed at boosting empathy between groups in conflict.

 

“What are the psychological barriers that are put up between us in these contexts of intergroup conflict, and then, critically, what can we do to get past them?” Bruneau asked.