Empathy in college-age students is decreasing at unprecedented rates. Understanding empathy in children can act as primary prevention in tackling the problem. This study considers laugh tracks’ capacity to bias reality, foster empathy, and investigate differences across time and gender in 181 fifth grade students. The results from this quasi-experimental study suggests that students’ perceptions of the relationship between empathy and canned laughter changed significantly from pretest to posttest survey questions. Statistically significant differences were present for gender, as well. Theoretical and practical implications of using laugh tracks to increase empathy in middle and late childhood are discussed.
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Kanthan, S., Graham, J. A., & Azarchi, L. (2016). Media Detectives: Bridging the Relationship among Empathy, Laugh Tracks, and Gender in Childhood. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 8(2), 35-53. https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-8-2-2