09 SES 11 C, Methodological Issues in Tests and Assessments
The empathy has been defined by Hoffman (1975, 1981, 1982, 1983) and Strayer & Eisenberg (1987) as the affective experience of other person' s feelings. The research and practice connected to the use of empathic strategies in multicultural educational settings is emerging as one of the most effective ways to combat intergroup bias.
In spite of the huge variety of approaches, a certain degree of consensus has been achieved in relation to the determination of some behavioral correlate of the empathy. In recent years, its importance in relation to the pro-social attitude of people has been highlighted (Belacchi y Farina, 2012; Butrus & Witenberg, 2013; Hodges,Clark & Myers, 2011; Shen, Carlo & Knight, 2013; Welp & Brown, 2014), as well as its role played in social conflicts (Barnett y Mann, 2013; Sanmartín, Carbonell y Banos, 2011; Zembylas, 2013). In a review concerning the different studies about this issue, Eisenberg (2000) considers the relevance of the empathy in the moral development, understood as an emotional response that comes from the comprehension of the other person’s situation, with the effect of experiencing the other person’s similar feelings. Therefore, the empathic response includes the capacity to understand the other person and to put oneself in the other person’s shoes, using observation, verbal information or other type of information approachable from the memory (perspective taking), by covering the affective reaction produced when an emotional condition is shared. This can generate sadness, discomfort or anxiety. Empathy, understood in this way, would play a central role in the pro-social attitude of people (Eisenberg, 2000).
If we go beyond and also consider the link between empathy and prejudice, social exclusion and intergroup explicit and implicit attitudes (Albiero & Matricardi, 2013; Li, Mai & Liu, 2014; Shih, Stotzer, & Gutierrez, 2013; Shi, Trahan, Wang & Stotzer, 2009), we will understand better the reasoning used to stand up for the research and practice related to the use of empathic strategies in multicultural educational environments (Belacchi y Farina, 2012; Numata, 2013) as well as the use of different programmes of intercultural education with the goal of increasing the empathy (Peek & Park, 2013; Todd, Bodenhausen & Galinsky, 2012). In conclusion, the empathy is a key concept in the establishment of social relationships. This is why it is perceived as an educational need in the intercultural contexts of our schools and society.
Although the empathy has been the object of study of numerous studies from different perspectives, when it is analyzed from a cultural or ethnic approach, we find that this field of research is barely investigated (Green, 1998; Lawrence & Luis, 2001; Rasoal, Eklund, Hansen, 2011). Here, the construct has not been labelled or operationalized in the same way.
Perhaps Ridley and Lingle (1996) are the first researchers who used and defined the concept of cultural empathy. This construct would exceed the concept of general empathy, including comprehension and the acceptance of the other person’s culture.
Wang et al. (2003), who are aware of the importance of the cultural and ethnic components, developed the concept of ethnocultural empathy, which is similar to cultural empathy. This concept is also related to the concepts of cultural competence and cross-cultural empathy (Dyche y Zayas, 2001; Green, 1998; Wang et al., 2003). Wang and his colleagues understood the ethnocultural empathy as the empathy expressed towards members of cultural, ethnic or racial groups which are different from one's own. Advances in this kind of empathy would involve the reduction of intolerance, discrimination and conflicts, and, at the same time, understanding and mutual respect would progress, regardless the cultural or ethnic membership.
Albiero, P. & Matricardi, G. (2013). Empathy towards people of different race and ethnicity: Further empirical evidence for the Scale of Ethnocultural Empathy.International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37, 648-655. doi: http://dx.doi.org10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.05.003 Barnett, G. & Mann, R. E. (2013). Empathy deficits and sexual offending: A model of obstacles to empathy. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 18, 228-239. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2012.11.010 Butrus, N. & Witenberg, R. T. (2013). Some Personality Predictors of Tolerance to Human Diversity: The Roles of Openness, Agreeableness, and Empathy. Australian Psychologist, 48, 290-298. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-9544.2012.00081.x Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, Regulation, and Moral Development. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 665-697. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.665 Hodges, S. D., Clark, B. A. M. & Myers, M. W. (2011). Better living through perspective taking. En Biswas-Diener (Ed.), Positive psychology as social change (pp. 193-218). New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media; US. Hoffman, M. L. (1975). Developmental synthesis of affect and cognition and its implications for altruistic motivation. Developmental Psychology, 11, 607-622. Hoffman, M. L. (1981). The development of empathy. En J. P. R. y. R. M. S. (Eds.) (Ed.), Altruism and helping behavior social, personality and developmental perspectives. New Jersey: L.E.A. Hoffman, M. L. (1982). Development of prosocial motivation: Empathy and guilt. In N. E. (Ed.) (Ed.), The development of prosocial behavior. New York: Academic Press. Hoffman, M. L. (1983). Empathy, guilt and social cognition. In W. F. O. (Ed.) (Ed.), The relationship between social and cognitive development. London: L.E.A. Li, W., Mai, X. & Liu, C. (2014). The default mode network and social understanding of others: what do brain connectivity studies tell us. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 1-15. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00074 Sanmartín, M. G., Carbonell, A. E. & Banos, C. P. (2011). Relationships among empathy, prosocial behavior, aggressiveness, self-efficacy and pupils' personal and social responsibility. Psicothema, 23, 13-19. Shen, Y. L., Carlo, G. & Knight, G. P. (2013). Relations between parental discipline, empathy-related traits, and prosocial moral reasoning: A multicultural examination. Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 994-1021. Strayer, J. & Eisenberg, N. (1987). Empathy viewed in context. En N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development (pp. 389–398). New York: Cambridge University Press. ... Welp, L. R. & Brown, C. M. (2014). Self-compassion, empathy, and helping intentions. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 54-65. Zembylas, M. (2013). The Emotional Complexities of "Our" and "Their" Loss:
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