The Power of Social Connections: Feelings of Connectedness Result in Sharing Goals, Emotions, and Intergroup Empathy
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The purpose of the following research was to test the prediction that a sense of social connectedness to a stranger would result in the tendency to share psychological states with him/her. An overview of the literature on state sharing and the psychological merging between other and self is described in Chapter 1. The first test of my prediction is provided in Chapter 2 where I demonstrate that participants who are led to feel socially connected to a confederate--by sharing idiosyncratic preferences in common with her--resulted in the propensity to take on her goals. In Chapter 3, participants who felt connected to a confederate who was asked to complete a stressful speech task experienced more stress themselves. This effect occurred in part through a sense of felt “oneness” with the confederate. Chapter 4 extended these findings by showing that socially connected participants tended to experience secondary appraisal emotions in line with the confederate’s appraisal of the stressful speech task and this occurred through a sense of felt oneness with the confederate. In Chapter 5, participants who felt connected to an outgroup member tended to experience greater empathy for another outgroup member who experienced discrimination. The implications for social interaction in general and for intergroup relations in particular are discussed in Chapter 6.
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David Cwir (2011). The Power of Social Connections: Feelings of Connectedness Result in Sharing Goals, Emotions, and Intergroup Empathy. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/5838