Helping across group boundaries: Intercultural dissimilarity, individual attractiveness and empathy

The dissertation project deals with the interplay of intergroup and interpersonal processes in dyadic out-group helping. Recent research shows that perception of intercultural dissimilarity between a potential helper and a helpee reduces the likelihood of empathy motivated helping (for a review see Stürmer & Snyder, 2010). Extending this perspective, we investigate experimentally the hypothesis that the role of empathy in helping intercultural dissimilar others is disinhibited through perceptions of attractive individual characteristics of a target person. Furthermore we are interested in the specific mediating processes of this effect and the role of directed information search by the potential helper.