If both camps take a more empathetic approach when there’s an argument, it generally makes it easier to listen to what the other side is saying and alleviate tension. This isn’t the case, however, when the conflict is about immigration.

Discussions about immigration are heated, even antagonistic. But what happens when supporters and opponents undertake to show more empathy and engage in perspective taking, two types of behaviour that can ease tension? A study carried out at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) —published in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications— reveals that people who support immigration are ready and willing to adopt an empathetic approach and a wider perspective. By contrast, when opponents of immigration are asked to engage in perspective taking, they feel more competition with their “adversary.” Although empathy is not the universal key to unlocking healthy, constructive dialogue around immigration, the UNIGE study does show that it is important to take the political leaning and opinions of individuals into account in order to intervene effectively in conflict resolution.

Read the press release at the following link.