Adolescents View Overwhelming Lack of Empathy for Popular TV Characters Experiencing Pain Interview with:
Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych
Professor of Clinical Psychology
University of Calgary
Full Member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
Director, Alberta Children’s Pain Research Lab
at the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre
Alberta Children’s Hospital in Canada. What are the main findings of the study?

Response: We examined 10 movies and the first seasons of 6 TV Netflix shows based on popularity among adolescents.  

Across the 616 scenes showing painful events, the majority showed violence and injuries and not the kinds of pain kids experience in real life (e.g., medical procedures, chronic pain. Characters from marginalized (gender diverse, girls) and minoritized groups (individuals with racialized identities) were underrepresented.

Overall, there was an overwhelming LACK of empathy shown to characters observing others in pain. The media perpetuated gender and racialized stereotypes.

Last Updated on April 2, 2024 by