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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17430

Title: The Closed Circle of Empathy: Mirror Neuron System Activation and Anterior EEG Asymmetries in Response to Outgroup Members
Authors: Gutsell, Jennifer Nadine
Advisor: Inzlicht, Michael
Plaks, Jason
Department: Psychology
Keywords: Empathy
Prejudice
Mirror Neurons
Prefrontal Alpha Asymmetry
Issue Date: 14-Jul-2009
Abstract: Empathy varies with similarity and familiarity of the other. Since outgroups are seen as dissimilar to the self, empathy might be restricted to the ingroup. We looked at two neural correlates of empathy: mirror neuron system activation as indicated by electroencephalographic mu suppression and prefrontal alpha asymmetry. Non black participants watched videos of ingroup and outgroup members acting and expressing emotions, and then acted and experienced emotions themselves. Due to methodological problems, mirror neuron system activation was not obtained. However, anterior asymmetries indicated avoidance motivation during the experience of sadness and the mere observation of sad ingroup members while participants did not show anterior asymmetry when observing the black outgroup. These findings suggest that empathy is bounded to a closed circle of similar others.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17430
Appears in Collections:Master
Department of Psychology - Master theses

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