On 24th March 2023, @LynnEekhof and I hosted a discussion event to discuss the limits of empathy during narrative reading, focusing on phenomena like negative empathy, empathic resistance, engaging with immoral characters and other narrative reading contexts in which the limits of our empathy might be stretched. Three researchers with expertise on these topics briefly discussed their ideas and research, after which a discussion took place in break-out rooms.
Below are their slides for your reference.
Dr Carolina Fernandez-Quintanilla(University of Granada, Spain), discussed how moral evaluation can play a determining factor in whether or not empathy occurs, using a case study of qualitative (non-)empathetic responses to a short story protagonist who is a torturer;
Fernandez-Quintanilla_Empathy&NarrativeDiscussion_24032023.pdf (76.7 KB)
Julia de Jonge (University of Verona, Italy & Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands), explored using a quantitative approach to studying the potential need for either a shift in moral judgement or moral disengagement before one can experience increased empathy for immoral characters;
De Jonge_Empathy&NarrativeDiscussion_24032023.pdf (397.3 KB)
Dr Carmen Bonasera (University of Bologna, Italy), illustrated the potential and limits of studying (the language triggering) negative empathy from the perspective of computational literary studies, in particular using Sentiment and Emotion Analysis.
NB: Carmen’s presentation will be uploaded once the content of her presentation has been published in October 2023