Graduation Date

Fall 2021

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Christopher Aberson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Amanda Hahn

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Empathy is a tool we can use to feel and understand other’s emotions and circumstances. The social identity perspective posits that we are motivated to protect and promote the groups we belong to, and that we feel emotions on behalf of the group. Further, intergroup threat theory (found within the social identity framework) postulates that perceived threat to one’s group leads to intergroup tension, breeding prejudiced attitudes and discriminatory behavior. To investigate the relationship that identity and threat have on participant’s empathy for outgroups, I measured: how much participants identified with the White American identity; their White privilege awareness; their perceived anti-Black discrimination; their racial colorblindness; and their overall empathy levels. Next, participants (n = 52) were exposed to either a neutral stimulus or a threatening stimulus targeting the White American identity. Threat perception and empathy towards Black people was measured post manipulation. Findings indicate a significant negative correlation between racial colorblindness and empathy (p = .018, r = - 0.32, t = -2.42, CI = [-0.548, -0.056]).

Citation Style