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Empathy and motivation for justice: Cognitive empathy and concern, but not emotional empathy, predict sensitivity to injustice for others.
Soc Neurosci. 2016; 11(1):1-14.SN

Abstract

Why do people tend to care for upholding principles of justice? This study examined the association between individual differences in the affective, motivational and cognitive components of empathy, sensitivity to justice, and psychopathy in participants (N 265) who were also asked to rate the permissibility of everyday moral situations that pit personal benefit against moral standards of justice. Counter to common sense, emotional empathy was not associated with sensitivity to injustice for others. Rather, individual differences in cognitive empathy and empathic concern predicted sensitivity to justice for others, as well as the endorsement of moral rules. Psychopathy coldheartedness scores were inversely associated with motivation for justice. Moreover, hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that self-focused and other-focused orientations toward justice had opposing influences on the permissibility of moral judgments. High scores on psychopathy were associated with less moral condemnation of immoral behavior. Together, these results contribute to a better understanding of the information processing mechanisms underlying justice motivation, and may guide interventions designed to foster justice and moral behavior. In order to promote justice motivation, it may be more effective to encourage perspective taking and reasoning than emphasizing emotional sharing with the misfortune of others.

Authors+Show Affiliations

a Department of Psychology , University of Chicago , Chicago , IL , USA. b Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience , University of Chicago Medicine , Chicago , IL , USA.a Department of Psychology , University of Chicago , Chicago , IL , USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25768232

Citation

Decety, Jean, and Keith J. Yoder. "Empathy and Motivation for Justice: Cognitive Empathy and Concern, but Not Emotional Empathy, Predict Sensitivity to Injustice for Others." Social Neuroscience, vol. 11, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-14.
Decety J, Yoder KJ. Empathy and motivation for justice: Cognitive empathy and concern, but not emotional empathy, predict sensitivity to injustice for others. Soc Neurosci. 2016;11(1):1-14.
Decety, J., & Yoder, K. J. (2016). Empathy and motivation for justice: Cognitive empathy and concern, but not emotional empathy, predict sensitivity to injustice for others. Social Neuroscience, 11(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2015.1029593
Decety J, Yoder KJ. Empathy and Motivation for Justice: Cognitive Empathy and Concern, but Not Emotional Empathy, Predict Sensitivity to Injustice for Others. Soc Neurosci. 2016;11(1):1-14. PubMed PMID: 25768232.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Empathy and motivation for justice: Cognitive empathy and concern, but not emotional empathy, predict sensitivity to injustice for others. AU - Decety,Jean, AU - Yoder,Keith J, Y1 - 2015/04/02/ PY - 2015/3/14/entrez PY - 2015/3/15/pubmed PY - 2016/10/1/medline KW - Empathy KW - Justice motivation KW - Moral judgment KW - Perspective taking KW - Psychopathy SP - 1 EP - 14 JF - Social neuroscience JO - Soc Neurosci VL - 11 IS - 1 N2 - Why do people tend to care for upholding principles of justice? This study examined the association between individual differences in the affective, motivational and cognitive components of empathy, sensitivity to justice, and psychopathy in participants (N 265) who were also asked to rate the permissibility of everyday moral situations that pit personal benefit against moral standards of justice. Counter to common sense, emotional empathy was not associated with sensitivity to injustice for others. Rather, individual differences in cognitive empathy and empathic concern predicted sensitivity to justice for others, as well as the endorsement of moral rules. Psychopathy coldheartedness scores were inversely associated with motivation for justice. Moreover, hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that self-focused and other-focused orientations toward justice had opposing influences on the permissibility of moral judgments. High scores on psychopathy were associated with less moral condemnation of immoral behavior. Together, these results contribute to a better understanding of the information processing mechanisms underlying justice motivation, and may guide interventions designed to foster justice and moral behavior. In order to promote justice motivation, it may be more effective to encourage perspective taking and reasoning than emphasizing emotional sharing with the misfortune of others. SN - 1747-0927 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25768232/Empathy_and_motivation_for_justice:_Cognitive_empathy_and_concern_but_not_emotional_empathy_predict_sensitivity_to_injustice_for_others_ L2 - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17470919.2015.1029593 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -