Social Distance and Empathy: Is There Such Thing as Selective Empathy?


Being a part of groups is one major component of identity. However, while we can choose some groups to be part of, categories such race and ethnic—along with gender and religion to some extent—are something that we cannot choose. Even so, we identify ourselves as those assigned group, rather than our achieved ones. This paper would examine the relationship between social distance and empathy, especially in assigned group such religion. The total sample recruited to fill in an online questionnaire was 190-individuals (x̄=18.5yo). We measure social distance in multiple categories as well as their level of empathy. Statistical analysis showed that social distance in religiosity and empathy are correlated negatively (corr = -.209, p = .004); however, there was no significant correlation found in other categories of social distance. There are two major point discussed in this paper: [1] whether or not empathy is based on their religious membership; [2] the significance of religious distance over the other categories. Future studies are aimed to elaborate this problem even farther.

Author Information
Robert Oloan Rajagukguk, Universitas Kristen Maranatha, Indonesia
Julia Suleeman, Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia
Rika Eliana, Universitas Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
Bonita Lee, Decoding Human, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2018
Stream: Religion - Religion and Peace Studies

This paper is part of the ACERP2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon