The connection between hierarchy preferences and (counter-) empathic responding
Social dominance orientation (SDO) measures the extent to which people accept and promote group-based inequality and is positively associated to prejudicial attitudes and behaviors. Despite the large body of scholarship on SDO, we know little about the relationship between SDO and emotions. In this talk I will argue that SDO is tied to people’s willingness to feel empathy and counter-empathy towards others but especially competitively threatening, low status others. First, I provide evidence that SDO is negatively associated with feeling empathy for others and positively associated with feeling counter-empathy, and that competitive group settings exacerbated these relationships. Second, I suggest that this relationship is motivated, as people with higher levels of SDO make similar forecasts of others’ emotions as do those low in SDO, but they desire to feel less empathy toward low-status targets and when given a choice, choose to feel less empathy and more counter-empathy (schadenfreude specifically). Lastly, I discuss a preliminary model that explicates how SDO’s relationship with downstream behaviors and policy preferences are mediated by empathic and counter-empathic responding. This work contributes to the growing body of work on the role that ideologies play in driving emotions and empathic responses.
Event Type: 
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Event Sponsor: 
Personality and Social Research, Institute of
Event Speakers: 
Sa-kiera T.J. Hudson