Psychological Dynamics of Empathy
PSYCHOLOGICAL & BRAIN SCIENCES 396
In this course, we will explore the antecedents and consequences of empathic motivation, defined broadly. Along the way, we consider answers to several interesting questions: Why are some people generally more empathic than others? Are there cultural differences in levels of this trait? To what extent is empathy an "emotional" or "cognitive" phenomenon? We will also consider the conditions under which empathy is associated with prosocial outcomes (e.g., reducing racial prejudice) but with recognition that empathy has a "darker" side, one that can ironically exacerbate people's preexisting biases. The approach to empathy will be highly interdisciplinary as we consider research and theory within several fields within psychology (e.g., social, personality, cognitive) as well as areas that draw from other scholarly disciplines (e.g. social neuroscience, social anthropology). PREREQ: Psych 100B.
Course Attributes: EN S; BU BA; AS SSC; FA SSC; AR SSC