Author Date


Degree Name



Political Science


David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Joshua Gubler

First Faculty Reader

Joel Selway

Honors Coordinator

Ray Christensen


immigrants, muslim, integration, empathy, dissonance, policy


The topic of immigration politics has gained traction in recent years as surges of immigrants are introduced to new homes—often with a long road of integration into the host country ahead. As a result, debates emerged on how to effectively “humanize” members of these outgroups – which include immigrants and refugees alike—while also being able to forge lasting cooperation between these ethnic groups allowing for peaceful integration. Previous attempts to achieve this goal have used various forms of visual and sensory media to generate empathy towards these outgroup members. These approaches have proven to be ineffective when not met with enough resulting empathy necessary to allow the native ingroup to view the outgroup as fellow neighbors. European countries have witnessed certain groups within their societies that hold high levels of animosity towards the influx of Middle Eastern immigrants. European Countries now have a greater need for integration of this outgroup into their communities. I present results from a study conducted with a fellowship of Political Science professors and other undergraduate students in the United Kingdom to test the effects of a unique empathy treatment, the “reciprocal empathy approach.” Using a randomized sample size (N= 8,172), the results strongly suggest that an expression of empathy from the outgroup toward the ingroup on issues unrelated to the conflict between the two groups can lead to “reciprocal empathy” and an effective reversal of ingroup dehumanization toward the outgroup. However, the reciprocal empathy treatment did not change attitudes towards policies that concerned Muslim immigrants.