© 2014 The British Psychological Society. An experimental vignette study was conducted among children (8-13 years) to examine whether inducing empathic understanding is an effective intervention to overpower peer group boundaries in children's helping. Children were induced or not induced to empathize with the recipient of help, who was or was not part of their (imagined) group of friends. Results showed that children intended to help in-group peers more compared to outgroup peers when empathic understanding was not induced. However, when empathy was induced, they intended to help friends and non-friends equally. Inducing empathic understanding was effective independent of the recipient's level of need, and children's advanced social perspective-taking ability. Encouraging children to imagine how a recipient of help feels might thus be a useful strategy to prevent peer group-based biases in children's helping behaviour.
- Intergroup helping