Empathy, culture and self‐humanising: Empathising reduces the attribution of greater humanness to the self more in Japan than Australia

Joonha Park, Nick Haslam, Yoshi Kashima, Vinai Norasakkunkit
Published Online:
15 Apr 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 4

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People tend to ascribe greater humanness to themselves than to others. Previous research has indicated that this “self‐humanising” bias is independent of self‐enhancement and robust across cultures. The present study examined the possible role of empathy in reducing this bias in Japan (N = 80) and Australia (N = 80). Results showed that unlike Australians, Japanese participants who recalled personal experiences of empathising with others were less likely to self‐humanise than those in a neutral condition. The effect of the empathy manipulation was not observed in Australia. The findings suggest that empathy may reduce self‐focus and enable perceivers to appreciate the full humanness of others, but this effect may be culturally contingent.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science