Lane, D, Saleem, M and Noor, M (2019) Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t: Effects of Empathy and Responsibility in Muslim Leaders’ Mediated Responses to Extremist Attacks. Media Psychology. ISSN 1532-785X

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Muslim American leaders are often called upon to publicly respond to violent attacks carried out by Muslim extremists. Yet it is unclear what types of responses are most likely to satisfy non-Muslim Americans and ultimately improve attitudes toward Muslim Americans as a group. In three experiments, we examined how expressions of empathy and responsibility within Muslim leaders’ mediated responses to extremism affect response satisfaction. We did so immediately after real terrorism incidents carried out internationally (Study 1) and domestically (Study 2), as well as within a controlled fictional incident (Study 3). Across studies, expressing (vs. not expressing) empathy decreased the perception that the issued statement was motivated by external pressure, which was associated with: a) increased response satisfaction and trust in Muslim Americans, and b) decreased perceptions that Muslim Americans were collectively responsible for the incident. In contrast, accepting (vs. denying) responsibility increased the perception that the response was issued out of a sense of collective guilt, which, in Study 3, led to: a) decreased response satisfaction and trust in Muslims, and b) increased Muslim collective responsibility. These findings illustrate the perilous task facing group leaders who use the media to publicly respond to actions of extremist ingroup members.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Taylor & Francis at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: intergroup, empathy, responsibility, persuasion, Muslims, terrorism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2019 16:25
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 01:30

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