Journal of Social Issues
Research on empathy focuses almost exclusively on its negative variety, empathic sorrow, either by defining empathy as a state involving negative emotions or by confining its empirical study to the negative. In contrast, we investigate empathy's positive variety, empathic joy. We do so in the context of intergroup relations. A total of 1,216 predominantly White teachers participated in a yearlong investigation of whether their attitudes toward, and empathy for, their predominantly ethnic minority students affected their teaching style and the students’ learning. Consistent with expectations, we found that teachers’ experience of empathic joy predicted better student outcomes and that it did so by leading to more allophilia toward students and, in turn, toward more proactive and positive interactions with students. Implications are considered for the role of empathic joy in positive intergroup relations more generally.
Copyright © 2016, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Pittinsky, Todd L, and Montoya, R. Matthew, "Empathic Joy in Positive Intergroup Relations" (2016). Psychology Faculty Publications. 29.