Racial Bias and Empathy: Older Chinese Children Show an Empathic Bias for In-Group Members Hurt Intentionally

Du, K. (University of Otago), Hunter, J. (University of Otago), Scarf, D. (University of Otago), Ruffman, T. (University of Otago)

This study used a story-telling task to examine 112 Chinese children’s (M = 8.37 years, range: 5 to 13.25 years) empathy towards same-race and cross-race members harmed intentionally as opposed to accidentally. A new measure of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) for children was used to examine correlations with children’s empathetic attitudes. Increasing age, gender (females) and lower RWA were significant predictors of empathy toward in-group members, but age interacted with gender such that boys at all ages were biased to be empathic to same-race members hurt intentionally, whereas this tendency increased with age for girls. Age, gender and RWA did not predict empathy for out-group members.


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Culture and Attitudes