Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

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Empathy Experts: Mary Beth Oliver
 

Mary Beth Oliver & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Journalism

Mary Beth Oliver is a Penn State Professor and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, as well as, a member of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies. She is co-author of Media Effects Advances in Theory and Research.

We talked about the role of the media in fostering a culture of empathy. Needless to say, the media is doing a lot to inhibit empathy at the moment.

Mary conducted a study titled, 'The Effect of Narrative News Format on Empathy for Stigmatized Groups'.  "The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which news story format (narrative vs. non-narrative) can initiate empathic processes that produce more favorable evaluations of stigmatized groups." The study showed that narrative stories stimulate more empathy and compassion
Sub Conference: Journalism and Media

 

 

 

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Mary Beth Oliver & Edwin Rutsch: Dialogs on How to Build a Culture of Empathy with Journalism

 

 

Transcripts

  • 00:00 Introduction

  • (transcription pending)

  • (Video Transcriptions: If you would like to take empathic action and create a transcription of this video, check the volunteers page.  The transcriptions will make it easier for other viewers to quickly see the content of this video.)

 

The Effect of Narrative News Format on Empathy for Stigmatized Groups

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the extent to which news story format (narrative vs. non-narrative) can initiate empathic processes that produce more favorable evaluations of stigmatized groups. Participants (N = 399) read one of two versions of a story that described health care–related dilemmas for either immigrants, prisoners, or the elderly. Narrative-formatted stories produce more compassion toward the individuals in the story, more favorable attitudes toward the group, more beneficial behavioral intentions, and more information-seeking behavior.

 

May 30, 2012: News narratives can heighten compassion, increase willingness to act

"How the news media tell a story can make those who consume the story more compassionate and willing to act and help others. According to Penn State researchers, news reports can boost empathy toward stigmatized groups, particularly if they go beyond factual information to include stories that more effectively trigger emotional responses."