Entangled Ecopsychology: Links between empathy and environmental morality

Do empathic beliefs vary children's concerns for protecting endangered species?

Project Abstract

The human-nature relationship is complex and entangled. To understand the development of conservation and sustainability concerns, we need to more fully understand the frameworks that might be working for or against our environmental moral orientations. Our Summer 2017 research team investigated the role empathy plays in structuring children’s (ages 7- and 10-years old) moral regard for endangered animals and environments. We re-analyzed 1000+ pages of transcripts of children’s moral reasoning: we developed and employed a systematic coding schema, built from our literature review and conversations with experts, applied it to the entire data set, and qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed the data. We observed developmental differences in empathetic reasoning and significant links between empathy and morality.

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