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

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Seminar to be held on Monday, November 26th in ERC 115 at 12:00 pm

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.    In the first laboratory study of temp agency supplied participants from California, he finds that dispositional empathy moderates permissive change as expected.   In the second national M-Turk study, he finds support for his interactive understanding of empathy in addition to dispositional empathy as a moderator.  He then discusses the implications of these findings.

Chris Haynes is a PhD candidate in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside and CCIS Pre-Doctoral Fellow.  His NSF-funded dissertation examines the effects of empathy in the context of immigration policy preferences.  More broadly, his research includes a book manuscript on the framing effects on public opinion on immigration, working papers on Asian-American co-ethnic linked fate, the implications of ethnic media consumption on the political knowledge of Latinos, Asian-Americans, and African-Americans, and work with the second iteration of the National Asian American Survey.