Children’s mu suppression is sensitive to witnessing others’ social victimization

Ashley M. Fraser, Ryan S. Hampton, Tracy L. Spinrad, Michael Varnum, Chris Blais, Nancy Eisenberg, Diana E. Gal-Szabo, Rebecca H. Berger, Jingyi Xu, Sonya Xinyue Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Empathy has been a key focus of social, developmental, and affective neuroscience for some time. However, research using neural measures to study empathy in response to social victimization is sparse, particularly for young children. In the present study, 58 children’s (White, non-Hispanic; five to nine years old) mu suppression was measured using electroencephalogram methods (EEG) as they viewed video scenarios depicting social injustices toward White and Black children. We found evidence of increased mu suppression in response to social victimization; however, contrary to well-documented findings of ingroup racial bias in empathic responses among adults, we found no evidence of racial bias in mu suppression in young children. Implications of these findings for neuroscience research on empathy and the development of ingroup bias are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2020


  • Empathy
  • mu suppression
  • social victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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