Escaping affect: how motivated emotion regulation drives the collapse of compassion Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Cameron, C. Daryl
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • In crisis situations, people tend to feel more compassion toward one victim than toward multiple victims. Many have suggested that this collapse of compassion is an invariant feature of our affect systems, that emotions are not triggered as strongly by aggregates. The current studies suggest instead that the collapse of compassion is driven by motivated emotion regulation. People might view their emotion toward mass suffering as overwhelming or costly, and take steps to eliminate it. In the first study, subjects who did not expect to provide aid displayed more compassion toward eight children than toward one child. But when subjects did expect to provide aid, the collapse of compassion emerged, suggesting that it is driven by expected cost. In the second study, the collapse of compassion emerged over time, and only for those who could skillfully regulate their emotions. The implications of these studies are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Payne, B. Keith
  • Open access

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