Cognitive Empathy in Intercultural Interactions: The Roles of Lay Theories of Multiculturalism and Polyculturalism
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The intergroup lay theories of polyculturalism and multiculturalism have been hypothesized to play an important role in facilitating better intergroup relations. In two studies, we investigate the consequences of polyculturalism and multiculturalism on participants’ cognitive empathy for actors in a hypothetical intercultural interaction. Study 1 involves a scenario with Korean student experiencing language difficulties in the classroom and a Filipino professor who willingly provided assistance. Study 2 involves the same scenario but with a Filipino professor who declines to extend help to the Korean student. Hierarchical regression analyses reveal that multiculturalism predicts cognitive empathy for the Korean student in Study 1 and polyculturalism predicts cognitive empathy for the professor in both studies. The findings provide support for the role of lay theories of culture and its impact on cognitions about groups, and more importantly, for the distinct relationships between the two lay theories that emphasize either cultural differences or cultural connections.
KeywordsCognitive empathy Multiculturalism Polyculturalism Lay theories Intercultural relations
This research was supported by a Multiyear Research Grant awarded to the second author by the Research Development and Administration Office of the University of Macau (Grant No. MYRG-2014-00098-FSS). We thank Andrei Maghirang, Jana Patricia Victor, Jesus Datu, and Zyra Evangelista for their valuable assistance at various points of the research process.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The research study reported in this manuscript was reviewed and evaluated by the Research Ethics Committee of the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Macau. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
All participants included the study provided their informed consent prior to responding to any part of the research questionnaire.
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