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How Do Robots and Humans Interact?

Image of robot in foreground, blurred female in background

To what extent do people place identity with or against robots? Can we take a robot’s perspective? Do we see robots as moral beings?

Xuan Zhao, who studies perspective taking, empathy, and prosocial behaviors, launched the session by highlighting the theoretical and practical relevance of examining human-robot interaction.

Psychology News Round-Up: ICYMI July 21, 2017

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Each week, we recap featured posts from Character & Context and other blogs around the cyberspace, plus news stories and tweets worth a look. If you have an item you'd like us to consider, use the hashtag #SPSPblog or tweet us directly @spspnews.

Thinking and Feeling In Judging Others

By Alexander Danvers

You’re interviewing a stranger for a job, and while you have “the facts” about their previous job history in front of you, what you’re not sure about is their emotional state. Are they anxious? Excited? Bored?

Agreeable Personalities are More Likely to Help Strangers

Prosocial behaviors, such as willingness to help others, may be linked to specific personalities.  Based on new research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, agreeableness is one of the better predictors of prosocial behavior.

Empowering Group Victims of Injustice Through Empathy

Illustration of man running

In the aftermath of intergroup injustice, apologies from the perpetrator groups are commonplace, but taking the next step, and ensuring that the victims are empowered, can be overlooked. How might we ensure that victimized groups receive more support than a simple apology? In the Group Processes and Intergroup Relations preconference, Michael Wohl from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, suggests that one route may be empathetic collective angst.

Gender Difference in Moral Judgments Rooted in Emotion, Not Reasoning, Study Finds

If a time machine was available, would it be right to kill Adolf Hitler when he was still a young Austrian artist to prevent World War II and save millions of lives? Should a police officer torture an alleged bomber to find hidden explosives that could kill many people at a local café? When faced with such dilemmas, men are typically more willing to accept harmful actions for the sake of the greater good than women.

Exploring the Connection Between Empathy, Neurohormones and Aggression

Empathy is typically seen as eliciting warmth and compassion—a generally positive state that makes people do good things to others. However, empathy may also motivate aggression on behalf of the vulnerable other. Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, examined whether assessed or elicited empathy would lead to situation-specific aggression on behalf of another person, and to explore the potential role of two neurohormones in explaining a connection between empathy and aggression. The study is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Can Fiction Stories Make Us More Empathetic?

Empathy is important for navigating complex social situations, and is considered a highly desirable trait. Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, discussed how exposure to narrative fiction may improve our ability to understand what other people are thinking or feeling in his session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

Exposure to stories

Can Narcissists Be Moved to Show Empathy?

Researchers at the University of Surrey and the University of Southampton have investigated whether narcissists can elicit empathy for another person's suffering. It has been well documented that narcissists lack empathy, but why is that the case, and do they have the capacity to change that behavior? The research is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Characterizing narcissism