Felt understanding as a mediator between shared social identity, and empathy and prosocial behaviour

Lead Research Organisation: University of Exeter
Department Name: Psychology


The last decade has seen a drastic upswing in civil unrest including large-scale protests (e.g., Buchanan, Bui, & Patel, 2020, July 3; Chrisafis, 2018, December 7), popular uprisings (Chulov, 2019, October 20; Phillips, 2019, October 21), and political polarization (e.g. Hobolt, Leeper, & Tilley, 2018; Dimock et al., 2014, as cited by Sylwester & Purver, 2016). Crucially, the surge in unrest in 2019-2020 has unfolded against the backdrop of a global pandemic, requiring individuals to behave co-operatively and prosocially. In the wake of a turbulent year defined by upheaval and conflict, investigating the psychological mechanisms promoting unity, empathy, and cooperation has perhaps never been more relevant. The overarching aim of this proposed PhD project is to examine whether felt understanding functions as a bridge between shared social identity, and empathy and prosocial behaviour. The project will involve a series of experiments which test that main proposition that shared social identity provides a foundation upon which felt understanding (i.e., felt empathy) can be expected and experienced, which in turn predicts positive outcomes such as empathy and pro-social behaviour.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2580968 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2021 30/09/2024 Summer Bedford