Perspective taking instructions and self-other overlap: Different motives for helping
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In two studies (N’s = 57 and 115), we demonstrate that type of perspective-taking instruction (“imagine self” vs. “imagine other”) differentially affects two motives for helping: self-other overlap and empathic concern. Imagine-self instructions produce greater self-other overlap than imagine-target and objective instructions, while both types of perspective-taking instruction promote empathic concern relative to an objective condition. In Study 2, imagine-self instructions indirectly increased the likelihood of helping via empathic concern and self-other overlap, while imagine-target instructions led indirectly to greater helping only through empathic concern. We discuss how different perspective-taking instructions may implicate different emotional and motivational paths to increasing helping.
KeywordsPerspective taking Instructions Self-other overlap Empathy Helping
The authors would like to thank Colton Christian and Irina Kuzmina for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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