The Apple Doesn’t “Feel” Far From the Tree: Mother–Child Socialization of Intergroup Empathy

Shira Ran*, Michal Reifen Tagar, Maya Tamir, Eran Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Like adults, children experience less empathy toward some groups compared with others. In this investigation, we propose that mothers differ in how much empathy they want their children to feel toward specific outgroups, depending on their political ideology. We suggest that how mothers want their children to feel (i.e., the motivation for their child’s empathy), in turn, is correlated with children’s actual experience of empathy toward the outgroup. Across four studies in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (NTotal = 734), the degree of empathy mothers wanted their children to experience in the intergroup context varied as a function of their political ideology. Mothers’ motivation for their child’s empathy toward the outgroup (but not in general) was further associated with how they chose to communicate messages to their children in a real-life context and how children actually felt toward the outgroup. We discuss implications for the socialization of intergroup empathy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-19
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online date22 Apr 2022
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This project was supported by the European Research Council under Grant 335607 (to Eran Halperin) and the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development under Grant I-1435-105.4/2017 (to E.H. and M.R.T.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.


  • children in conflict
  • emotion socialization
  • motivated intergroup empathy
  • political ideology


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