ERIC Number: ED146258
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976
Reference Count: N/A
The Effect of Similarity/Dissimilarity of Race and Personal Interests on Empathy and Altruism in Second Graders.
Panofsky, Anne D.
The experiment reported in this dissertation investigated the effect of similarity/dissimilarity of race and personal interests on empathy and altruism in second graders. It was hypothesized that white children would empathize more with other white children than with black children. It was also hypothesized that white children would empathize more with other children having the same interests than with those having different interests. Another hypothesis was that empathy would be positively related to helping and sharing. Because of this expected relationship between empathy and altruism, it was hypothesized that children would also help and share more with those children similar in race or interests than with those dissimilar. Subjects were 48 male and 48 female white middle and upper middle class second graders from religious schools. It was found that similarity/dissimilarity of race did not significantly affect subjects' empathic, sharing, or helping behavior. Several reasons were given to explain this finding, including: decreasing racism in American children, the experimenters' focusing on interests rather than race, and uniqueness of the subject population. On the other hand, similarity of interests did affect subjects' empathic and sharing behavior. The effect of religious affiliation and birth order on empathy, sharing, and helping was also explored. Jews, but not Catholics, shared significantly more with those similar in interests than with those dissimilar. There was a sex/birth order interaction for empathy, sharing, and helping but none of the individual comparisons among means were significant. (Author/AM)
Descriptors: Altruism, Behavior Patterns, Black Students, Comparative Analysis, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Empathy, Grade 2, Racial Factors, Religious Factors, Sex Differences, White Students
University Microfilms, P.O. Box 1764, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106 (Order No. 76-16,659)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A