Group-boundedness of Empathy [...]

People empathize with in-groups in ways they don’t with out-groups.

In other cases, it gets even worse: people feel overt antipathy towards others, for instance, taking pleasure when some misfortune befalls someone on the other side of a group boundary. What’s interesting to me is that this occurs not only for group boundaries that are meaningful, like ethnicity or religion, but totally arbitrary groups. If I were to divide us into a red and blue team, without that taking on any more significance, you would be more likely to experience empathy for fellow red team members than for me (apparently I’m on team blue today).                 

Another interesting feature of this group-boundedness of empathy is that it doesn’t just affect the amount of empathy we feel, it also affects whether we feel empathy automatically or not. Scientists have used EEG, for instance, to demonstrate that folks exhibit less neural resonance for the pain of outgroup as compared to ingroup members, and that difference appears within 200 milliseconds. It’s not that you experience automatic empathy and tamp it down if you’re in an intergroup setting; it seems like in those contexts empathy doesn’t occur at all.                  (Source)


Empathy that is a result of conscious process is termed Cognitive Empathy

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