Image credit: Personal

The Connection between Hierarchy Preferences and (Counter-)Empathic Responding

Image credit: Personal

The Connection between Hierarchy Preferences and (Counter-)Empathic Responding

Abstract

Social dominance orientation (SDO) measures the extent to which people accept and promote group-based inequality and is positively associated with prejudicial attitudes and behaviors. Despite the large body of scholarship on SDO, we know little about the relationship between SDO and emotions. In this talk, I will argue that SDO is tied to people’s willingness to feel empathy and counter-empathy towards others but especially competitively threatening, low- status others. First, I provide evidence that SDO is negatively associated with feeling empathy for others and positively associated with feeling counter-empathy, and that competitive group settings exacerbated these relationships. Second, I provide initial evidence for the motivated nature of this relationship, as people with higher levels of SDO make similar forecasts of others’ emotions as do those low in SDO, but they desire to feel less empathy toward low- status targets and when given a choice, choose to feel less empathy and more schadenfreude. Lastly, I discuss a preliminary model that explicates how SDO’s relationship with downstream behaviors and policy preferences are mediated by (counter-)empathic responding. This work contributes to the growing body of work on the role that ideologies play in driving emotions and empathic responses.

Date
Event
Emerging Scholars Presentation at NYU and Princeton
Location
New York University and Princeton University
Avatar
Sa-kiera T. J. Hudson, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate in the Social Perception and Communications Lab

My research interests include race, gender, sexual orientation, and power.