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Facebook Talk on Empathy and Technology

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Talk delivered at Facebook on December 8th 2016 on Empathy and Technology

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Facebook Talk on Empathy and Technology

  1. 1. EMPATHY AND TECHNOLOGY DEFINITIONS, EXAMPLES, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS Presentation by Christine Rosakranse, Stanford University Department of Communication Prepared for Facebook HQ, December 8, 2016
  2. 2. THE GOAL OF EMPATHY RESEARCH IS TO… FIND A WAY TO MAKE PEOPLE MORE COMPASSIONATE OR TO FOSTER EMPATHY AND COMPASSION THROUGH AN EXISTING TECHNOLOGY
  3. 3. EMPATHY WHAT IS IT?
  4. 4. TEXT THEORY OF MIND ▸ Feeling another’s emotions ▸ Cognitive perspective-taking ▸ Mirror Neurons and ToM (Trump Effect) ▸ Autistic example
  5. 5. EMPATHY: ITS ULTIMATE AND PROXIMATE BASES, (PRESTON, DE WAAL) ▸ Ultimate bases: “Empathy increases with: Familiarity (subject's previous experience with object)
  6. 6. SIMILARITY ▸ Similarity can be manipulated (red team vs. blue team) (perceived overlap between subject and object e.g. species, personality, age, gender),
  7. 7. LEARNING ▸ Learning (explicit or implicit teaching)
  8. 8. PAST EXPERIENCE ▸ Past experience ▸ (with situation of distress)
  9. 9. SALIENCE ▸ (strength of perceptual signal e.g. louder, closer, more realistic etc.)
  10. 10. MOTIVATIONAL THEORIES OF EMPATHY BATSON’S EMPATHY-JOY-ALTRUISM HYPOTHESES
  11. 11. EMPATHIC-JOY HYPOTHESIS ▸ “We reasoned that if empathically aroused individuals are egoistically motivated to gain empathic joy, then their desire to hear from the needy person again should be a direct function of the likelihood of obtaining empathic joy…” ▸ Empathic-altruism: “altruistically motivated individuals should want to hear how the needy person is doing even when the chances of improvement are not great.”
  12. 12. EMPATHIC-JOY HYPOTHESIS VS. EMPATHY-ALTRUISM BATSON ET AL.’S ABSTRACT ▸ Three experiments tested whether empathy evokes egoistic motivation to share vicariously in the victim's joy at improvement (the empathic-joy hypothesis) instead of altruistic motivation to increase the victim's welfare (the empathy-altruism hypothesis). ▸ In Experiment 1, Ss induced to feel either low or high empathy for a young woman in need were given a chance to help her. Some believed that if they helped they would receive feedback about her improvement; others did not. ▸ In Experiments 2 and 3, Ss induced to feel either low or high empathy were given a choice of getting update information about a needy person's condition. Before choosing, they were told the likelihood of the person's condition having improved—and of their experiencing empathic joy—was 20%, was 50%, or was 80%. ▸ Results of none of the experiments patterned as predicted by the empathic-joy hypothesis; instead, results of each were consistent with the empathy-altruism hypothesis.
  13. 13. Perspective-taking as a method for increasing empathy PERSPECTIVE-TAKING ▸ “To manipulate empathy, some subjects were asked to adopt an objective perspective while watching (low-empathy condition), and others were asked to imagine how the young woman felt (high-empathy condition).” IMAGE FROM PRESTON, DE WAAL HTTP://COGPRINTS.ORG/1042/1/PRESTON_DE_WAAL.HTML
  14. 14. FOR FIRST EXPERIMENT DEPENDENT MEASURES ▸ Dependent measure: Volunteering to help KatieON, BATSON, SLINGSBY, HARRELL, PEEKNA, TODD uded that the empathy thy, distress, and sadness. s raised earlier and the stinguishability ofself- onse to the need situa- 9; Batson et al, 1988), a nses to the six empathy rmed, grieved, troubled, , and perturbed), and four g low, heavyhearted, and perturbed, all of these nt. Omitting perturbed t solution (eigenvalue = gher on this component. that in response to the pathy, distress, and sad- gle underlying dimen- n was, as Batson et al. d, that the distress and Table 1 Proportion ofSubjects Agreeing to Help Katie in Each Cell ofExperiment 1 Empathy condition Low Proportion M High Proportion M No information about feedback .42 0.67 .75 1.00 Information about feedback No feedback .33 0.33 .83 1.17 Feedback .67 0.92 .58 0.75 Note, n = 12 per cell. The means are those for the scaled measure of helping, ranging from no help (0), 3-5 hr (1), 6-8 hr (2), to 9-10 hr (3). by the empathy-altruism hypothesis in both the no-informa- tion (replication) condition (z = 1.69, p < .05, one-tailed) and the no-feedback condition (z = 2.62, p < .005, one-tailed). The significant difference in the no-feedback condition was con- An analysis of variance on the proportion of subjects volunteering to help Katie in each cell revealed a reliable empathy main effect, x2(l, N=12) = 5.04, p < .025. This main effect was, however, qualified by a marginally significant interaction, x2(2, N= 72) = 4.87, p <. 10.
  15. 15. WILL EMPATHY INTERVENTIONS WORK? ONLINE?
  16. 16. ONLINE RAMIFICATIONS FOR INTERPERSONAL EMPATHY ▸ Computer-mediated communication eliminates some real-world context clues for sharing emotion ▸ However, it can also be hyperpersonal (Walther) ▸ Hian, Chuan, Trevor, and Detenber's 2006 study found that “relational intimacy” increased at a faster rate in CMC than in Face-to-Face interactions
  17. 17. MEDIA AGAINST BIAS ➤ Mixed results ➤ VR example: ➤ Putting Yourself in the Skin of a Black Avatar Reduces Implicit Racial Bias (Tabitha C. Peck, Sofia Seinfeld, Salvatore M Aglioti, Mel Slater) ➤ The influence of racial embodiment on racial bias in immersive virtual environments (Victoria Groom, Jeremy N. Bailenson, and Clifford Nass) - increases bias in IAT
  18. 18. DIGITAL MEDIA EFFECTS ➤ Heavy social media use can be both an indication of narcissism and a means of supporting and perpetuating narcissistic behavior (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008; Leung, 2013) ➤ Social networks tend to be “homogenous with regard to many sociodemographic, behavioral, and interpersonal characteristics” (McPherson et al. 2001) ➤ Face-to-face communication is not the same as computer- mediated communication (Walther et al., 1994; Riva, 2002)
  19. 19. MY EXPERIMENT
  20. 20. COMBINES THREE EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHES ➤ Oswald’s manipulation: designed a study using videotape to demonstrate the relationship between affective empathy, cognitive empathy, empathic concern and altruistic helping ➤ Decety and Yoder’s questionnaire design: using affective, cognitive, and social justice sensitivity as measures ➤ Imagined intergroup contact paradigm: recording written responses as a method for measuring perspective-taking
  21. 21. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES ➤ 2 x 3 design: Empathy condition by cued condition ➤ Empathy condition: Affective, cognitive, or distraction ➤ Cued condition: Cued or not cued for comment Affective Cued Cognitive Cued Distraction Cued Affective Not Cued Cognitive Not Cued Distraction Not Cued
  22. 22. DEPENDENT VARIABLES ➤ Bias Measures ➤ Homophobia ➤ Resentment and Over Racism Against African-Americans ➤ Illegal Alien Scale ➤ Difference in Justice Sensitivity Scales ➤ Helping Behaviors ➤ Volunteering ➤ Money Donation
  23. 23. ADDITIONAL COVARIATES Gender, Narcissism and Interpersonal Reactivity
  24. 24. HYPOTHESES ➤ H1a-g: There will be a main effect of empathy conditions on bias against marginalized groups. ➤ H2a-g: The interaction between empathy condition and cued condition will result in significant effects on the bias measures. ➤ H3a-d: There will be a main effect of empathy condition on justice sensitivity. ➤ H4a-d: The interaction between empathy condition and cued condition will result in significant effects on justice sensitivity. ➤ H5a-d: The interaction between empathy condition and cued condition will result in significant effects on helping behavior.
  25. 25. RESULTS (but first a little thought experiment)
  26. 26. This is George…
  27. 27. RESULTS: H1 - MAIN EFFECT OF EMPATHY CONDITION ON ILLEGAL ALIEN SCALE F (2, 135) = 3.31* p = .039
  28. 28. H2 - WHAT IS AN INTERACTION EFFECT? An interaction effect occurs when the the effect of one independent variable depends on the level of the other independent variable.
  29. 29. H2A-D: EFFECTS ON HOMOPHOBIA F (2, 135) = 3.64* p = .029 Factor 1, Behavior/Negative Affect
  30. 30. H2A-D: EFFECTS ON HOMOPHOBIA F (2, 135) = 3.34* p = .038 Total: Homophobia
  31. 31. JUSTICE SENSITIVITY with 4 subscales
  32. 32. Findings for Justice Sensitivity, 4 subscales
  33. 33. JUSTICE SENSITIVITY: FACTOR 1, SELF-ORIENTED (VICTIM) F(2, 136) = 4.63 p = .01
  34. 34. JUSTICE SENSITIVITY: FACTOR 3, OTHER-ORIENTED F(2, 135) = 3.63* p = .03
  35. 35. HELPING BEHAVIORS Volunteering and money donation
  36. 36. VOLUNTEERING: CIVIL RIGHTS AWARENESS BOOTH F(2, 135) = 3.09* p = .049
  37. 37. SIGNIFICANCE OF FINDINGS When empathy succeeds and why it fails
  38. 38. EMPATHY VERSUS “RATIONAL COMPASSION” ➤ Implication of the medium ➤ Not the same as face-to-face ➤ Increasing interactivity has different effects across conditions ➤ The popular YouTube format and digital storytelling may have adverse effects on bias against marginalized ➤ Compounded by empathy prompts ➤ Affected by forcing response
  39. 39. RELATED TO THE POPULATION ➤ Least bias against illegal aliens in the distraction condition ➤ Least homophobia in the distraction cued condition ➤ Empathy intervention activated self-centeredness ➤ Justice sensitivity for the self increased in the affective condition ➤ Distraction condition had more other-oriented thinking ➤ Affective, cued had most volunteering for civil rights booth
  40. 40. NEXT IN RESEARCH
  41. 41. ➤Empathy
  42. 42. Core is a person’s initial attachment, self-esteem, level of narcissism, natural ability. Learning can expand an initial self-interest through active listening and other exercises.
  43. 43. DIRECTIONS ➤ Looking at empathy as one tool for bias reduction ➤ Reduce narcissism ➤ Help practice non- judgement ➤ Strengthen core: self- esteem, ability to perform emotional labor ➤ Researching the role of collaboration in reducing bias ➤ As a means of expanding self- interest ➤ Creating a greater sense of common humanity
  44. 44. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ▸ Ashoka ▸ Practical ideas for solving social problems ▸ Non-Violent Communication (NVC) ▸ Active listening ▸ Mindfulness ▸ Humanistic Values ▸ d.school at Stanford for empathy in the design process
  45. 45. THANK YOU.

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