Does watching TV and playing video games affect our empathy and willingness to engage in pro-social behavior?
The results of this study were recently published in the article “Long-Term Relations Among Prosocial-Media Use, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior”. As expected, empathy was strongly correlated with pro-social behavior. The more likely we empathize with fellow humans, the more likely we are to help them. The key finding of this study was that pro-social media content (TV, movies or video games) was significantly associated with greater empathy scores, and thus also with greater pro-social behavior. What makes this study quite innovative is that it surveyed participants from many different countries and cultures, all of whom showed a similar trend. This means that no matter what countries the participants grew up in, there was a correlation between watching helpful characters on TV screens or in video games and being able to empathize with fellow humans in real life.
“Long-Term Relations Among Prosocial-Media Use, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior