ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 652-661.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00652

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The effect of internet use on empathy

JING Jiaojiao; GAO Chuang; NIU Gengfeng   

  1. (Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), School of Psychology and Brain and Cognition Laboratory, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China)
  • Received:2016-06-24 Online:2017-04-15 Published:2017-04-15
  • Contact: GAO Chuang, E-mail:


With the development of information and communication technologies, the Internet has become a new platform for interpersonal communication nowadays. Online environment is different from offline with the characters of anonymity, convenience and easiness to control. Empathy, which is defined as the capability to understand the situation of others, plays an important role in interpersonal communication. In modern information society, the relationship between Internet use and empathy has attracted the attentions of researchers. Current results show that, different Internet use behaviors have different effects on empathy - online violent video games would decrease empathy, while online prosocial video games could promote empathy. Online communities provide the ideal platform for the free expression of empathy. Excessive Internet use has negative effects on empathy. But the existing studies are scattered, future studies should combine diverse methods to conduct more application researches, and theoretical construction also needs to be strengthened.

Key words: empathy, Internet use, online video games, excessive Internet use, online communities