Intergroup empathy occurs when members of one social group identify with the emotions or perspectives of members of another social group. Empathy plays a crucial role in intergroup relations because it helps members of groups with differing worldviews, interests, and histories to develop an understanding of one another. Empathy holds great promise as a means of improving intergroup relations because of its potential to reduce prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. It is not a simple panacea, however, but rather a complex and subtle process involving cognitive, affective, and communicative elements that develop over time. Understanding the causes and consequences of intergroup empathy will make it possible to facilitate interactions between members of different groups and refine intergroup relations programs. This entry describes the concept and ...

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