A Study on Empathy, Credibility, and Political Attitude in Social Media: Focused on the Relationship between Empathetic Intention and the Motivation of Belonging on Intended Pro-Social and Political Behavior


This study explores the relationship how SNS through empathetic intentions and motives affect political participation and foster positive attitudes. In addition, this research explores how online and offline inter- action affects attitudes in political participation. The theoretical background of the research is based on the theory of planned behavior, in which the behavior of individuals is determined by attitudes towards behavior, and the subjective norms that influence intended behavior. Depending on how much time is spent on personal online activities, you can predict offline behavior through online attitudes, which can help to increase the explanatory power of the theory of planned behavior. In this study, there is a verifica- tion of offline political action related to the attitudes formed through social media. Social network service (hereafter SNS) could have important implication for modern society as a predictive tool. The research was conducted on 291 members of an SNS community and based on the survey data gathered, a hierarchi- cal regression analysis was applied. The analysis was found to significantly predict the behavioral tenden- cy of the subjects to cooperate and share information online when there is an intent and motive towards personal empathy. Online cognitive behavior control shows that the higher level of information sharing and trust, the higher the offline intent to participate in political action. Finally, there is a high correlation between online and offline political attitudes. The more positive the political attitudes, either online or offline, the more intent to participate in offline political action.

Share and Cite:

Lee, S. and Kweon, S. (2013) A Study on Empathy, Credibility, and Political Attitude in Social Media: Focused on the Relationship between Empathetic Intention and the Motivation of Belonging on Intended Pro-Social and Political Behavior. Advances in Journalism and Communication, 1, 26-40. doi: 10.4236/ajc.2013.13004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Bae, J.-H. (2001). Meeting and recognizing the suitability of the mobile phone as an interpersonal communication medium. Korea press Journal, 45, 160-188.
[2] Bae, J.-H. (2003). The impact of face-to-face interpersonal communication media used in the new communications environment. Korea Press Gazette, 23, 47-77.
[3] Kang, N.-W. (2004). Study on the impact of the Internet and using mass media to participate. Korea Press Gazette, 48, 116-143.
[4] Kim, K.-G. (2000). Interpersonal impression formation in CMC in exploratory research. Cyber Communication Gazette, 5-29.
[5] Kim, K.-G. (2002). A comparison of human relationships through computer-mediated communication, relationships and real space. Korea National Journal, 16, 73-109.
[6] Kim, M.-J., & Choi, Y,-J. (2012). The impact of online and offline relationships formed on smartphones via Twitter. Korea National Journal, 26, 43-82.
[7] Kim, Y.-J. (2002). Attitudes of users according to media selection and the use of media. Broadcasting Gazette, 16, 105-135.
[8] Na, E.-Y. (2001). A study affecting the adoption of mobile phone, mobile phone communications, and media properties. Korea Press Journal, 45, 189-228.
[9] Na, E.-Y. (2002). Women’s new media use and its value. Korea National Gazette, 16, 77-115.
[10] No, K.-Y., & Lee, M.-Y. (2005). Study on competition in the medium of the blog. Korea press Journal, 49, 318-345.
[11] Park, S.-H. (2004). Empathetic schools yesterday and today. Hakjisa.
[12] Seo, J.-W., & Park, H.-B. (2003). Internet use and social capital: the possibilities of the cyber-community to form of social capital. Policy Studies, 12, pp. 27-49.
[13] Ajzen, I. (1985). From intention to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhl, & J. Beckman (Eds.), Action control: From cognition to behavior (pp. 11-39). New York: Springer-Verlag.
[14] Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191
[15] Batson, C. D. (1987). Prosocial motivation: Is it ever truly altruistic? In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 65-122). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
[16] Batson, C. D., Ahmad, N., & Tsang, J. (2002). Four motives for community involvement. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 429-445. doi:10.1111/1540-4560.00269
[17] Batson, C. D., Early, S., & Salvarani, G. (1997). Perspective taking: Imagining how another feels versus imagining how you would feel. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 751-758. doi:10.1177/0146167297237008
[18] Batson, C. D., Klein, T. R., Highberger, L., & Shaw, L. L. (1995). Immorality from empathy-induced altruism: When compassion and justice conflict. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 1042-1054. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.68.6.1042
[19] Batson, C. D., O’Quin, K., Fultz, J., Vanderplas, M., & Isen, A. (1983). Self-reported distress and empathy and egoistic versus altruistic motivation for helping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 706-718. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.45.3.706
[20] Batson, C. D., Sager, K., Garst, E., Kang M., Rubchinsky, K., & Dawson, K. (1997). Is empathy-induced helping due to self-other merging? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 495-509. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.73.3.495
[21] Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.117.3.497
[22] Brehm, J., & Rhan, W. M. (1997). Individual level evidence for the causes and consequences of social capital. American Journal of Political Science, 41, 999-1023. doi:10.2307/2111684
[23] Coke, J. S., Batson, C. D., & McDavis, K. (1978). Empathic mediation of helping: A two-stage model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36, 752-766. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.36.7.752
[24] Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113-126. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.44.1.113
[25] Davis, M. H., Conklin, L., Smith, A., & Luce, C. (1996). Effect of perspective taking on the cognitive representation of persons: A merging of self and other. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 713-726. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.70.4.713
[26] Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1990). Empathy: Conceptualization, measurement, and relation to prosocial behavior. Motivation and Emotion, 14, 131-149. doi:10.1007/BF00991640
[27] Eisenberg, N., & Miller, P. A. (1987). The relation of empathy to prosocial and related behaviors. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 91-119. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.101.1.91
[28] Fukuyama, F. (1999). The great disruption: Human nature and the ceconstruction of social order. New York: Free Press.
[29] Galinsky, A. D., Ku, G., & Wang, C. S. (2005). Perspective taking and self-other overlap: Fostering social bonds and facilitating social coordination. Group Process and Intergroup Relations, 8, 109-124. doi:10.1177/1368430205051060
[30] Galinsky, A. D., & Moskowitz, G. B. (2000). Perspective-taking: Decreasing stereotype expression, stereotype accessibility, and in-group favorism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 708-724. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.78.4.708
[31] Giddens, A. (1990). The consequence of modernity. Standford, CA: Standford University Press.
[32] Hodges, S. D., Kiel, K. J., Kramer, A. D. I., Veach, D., & Villanueva, B. R. (2010). Giving birth to empathy: The effects of similar experience on empathic accuracy, empathic concern, and perceived empathy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 398-409. doi:10.1177/0146167209350326
[33] Hoffman (1986).Effective teaching of reading: Research and practice. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
[34] Ickes, W. (1993). Empathic accuracy. Journal of Personality, 61, 587-610. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.1993.tb00783.x
[35] Jourard, S. M (1964). The transparent self. New York: Van Nostrand.
[36] Ku, G., Wang, C., & Gallinsky, A. (2010). Perception through a perspective-taking lens. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 792-798. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.001
[37] Leary, M. (2000). The nature and function of self-esteem: Sociometer theory. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.
[38] Leary, M., Tambor, E., Terdal, S., & Downs, D. (1995). Self-esteem as an interpersonal monitor: The sociometer hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 518-530. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.68.3.518
[39] Lipps, T. (1907). Das wissen von fremden ichen. Psychologischen Untersuchungen, 1, 694-722.
[40] Markus, H., & Zajonc, R. B. (1985). The cognitive perspective in social psychology. In G. Lindzey & E. Aronson (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (3rd Ed., pp. 137-230). New York: Random House.
[41] Putnam, R. D. (1995). Tuning in, turning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. Political Science and Politics, 27, 64-83.
[42] Preston, S. D., & Hofelich, A. J. (2012). The many faces of empathy: Parsing empathic phenomena through a proximate, dynamic-systems view of representing the other in the self. Emotion Review, 4, 24-33.
[43] Raymond, et al. (2009). Planet-planet scattering in planetesimal disks. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 699, L88-L92. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/699/2/L88
[44] Regan, D., & Totten, J. (1975). Empathy and attribution: Turning observers into actors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 850-856. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.32.5.850
[45] Shapiro, A., & Swenson, C. H. (1977). Self-disclosure as a function of self-concept and sex. Journal of Personality Assessment, 41, 144-149. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa4102_4
[46] Simpson, J. A., Orina, M. M., & Ickes, W. (2003). When accuracy hurts, and when it helps: A test of the empathic accuracy model in martial interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 881-893. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.5.881
[47] Skoric, M. M., Ying, D., & Ng, Y. (2009). Bowling online, not alone: Online social capital and political participation in Singapore. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14, 411-423. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01447.x
[48] Stern, S. (2002). Sexual selves on the world wide web: Adolescent girls’ home pages as sites for sexual self-expression. In J. D. Brown, J. R. Steele, & K. Walsh-Childers (Eds.), Sexual teens, sexual media: Investigation media’s influence on adolescent sexuality (pp. 265-285). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[49] Toi, M., & Batson, C. D. (1982). More evidence that empathy is a source of altruistic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 281-292. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.43.2.281
[50] Weber, K., Johnson, A., & Corrigan, M. (2004). Communicating emotional support and its relationship to feelings of being understood, trust, and self-disclosure. Communication Research Reports, 21, 316-323. doi:10.1080/08824090409359994
[51] Wispé, L. (1986). The distinction between sympathy and empathy: To call forth a concept, a word is needed. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 314-321. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.50.2.314

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.