• Social Dominance Orientation;
  • Empathy;
  • Dual Process Model



This project was directed at examination of the potential reciprocal relationship between empathy and social dominance orientation (SDO), with the purpose of testing the predictions from Duckitt's highly influential dual process model of prejudice, and further examining the validity of the mere effect view of social dominance orientation.


To examine this relationship, the authors employed cross-lagged structural equation modeling with manifest variables across two studies using large samples from different parts of the world. Study 1 consisted of data from two waves of 389 (83% female) Belgian university students, with each wave separated by 6 months. Study 2 consisted of two waves of data from a national probability sample of 4,466 New Zealand adults (63% female), with each wave separated by a 1-year interval.


Results supported our expectation of a reciprocal longitudinal relationship between empathy and SDO. Moreover, the results also revealed that SDO's effect on empathy over time tended to be stronger than empathy's effect on SDO over time, countering the predictions derived from the dual process model.


These results represent the first time the possible reciprocal effects of empathy and SDO on one another have been examined using panel data rather than less appropriate cross-sectional analysis. They suggest the need to reexamine some key assumptions of the dual process model and further question the mere effect view of SDO.