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Abstract

In this article, we review empirical research investigating the efficacy of perspective-taking – the active consideration of others' mental states and subjective experiences – as a strategy for navigating intergroup environments. We begin by describing some of the benefits accrued from perspective-taking: more favorable implicit and explicit intergroup evaluations, stronger approach-oriented action tendencies and positive non-verbal behaviors, increased intergroup helping, reduced reliance on stereotype-maintaining mental processes, and heightened recognition of intergroup disparities. We then discuss several of the processes through which perspective-taking operates, focusing specifically on two affective (i.e., parallel and reactive empathy) and two cognitive (i.e., shifts in attributional thinking and self-outgroup merging) mechanisms. We also note several moderating factors based on perceiver characteristics, target characteristics, and features of the surrounding context that qualify the effects of perspective-taking. Finally, we conclude by suggesting potential directions for future research on intergroup perspective-taking.