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Current Psychology

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 165–176 | Cite as

Cognitive Empathy in Intercultural Interactions: The Roles of Lay Theories of Multiculturalism and Polyculturalism

  • Maria Guadalupe C. Salanga
  • Allan B. I. BernardoEmail author
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Cognitive empathy Multiculturalism Polyculturalism Lay theories Intercultural relations 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

Ethical Approval

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.

Informed Consent

All participants included the study provided their informed consent prior to responding to any part of the research questionnaire.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, College of Liberal ArtsDe La Salle UniversityManilaPhilippines
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, E21-3060 Humanities and Social Sciences BuildingUniversity of MacauTaipaMacau

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