Amanda M. Ferguson

Amanda M. Ferguson
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Psychological Clinical Science

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13
Publications
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302
Citations

Publications

Publications (13)
Preprint
Humans and other animals find mental (and physical) effort aversive and have the fundamental drive to avoid it. However, exerting no effort, doing nothing, is also aversive: it leads to boredom. Here, we ask whether people choose to exert effort when the alternative is to do nothing at all. Across nine studies, participants completed variants of th...
Article
Empathy has many benefits. When we are willing to empathize, we are more likely to act prosocially (and receive help from others in the future), to have satisfying relationships, and to be viewed as moral actors. Moreover, empathizing in certain contexts can actually feel good, regardless of the content of the emotion itself—for example, we might f...
Preprint
Empathy has many benefits. When we are willing to empathize, we are more likely to act prosocially (and receive help from others in the future), to have satisfying relationships, and to be viewed as moral actors. Moreover, empathizing in certain contexts can actually feel good, regardless of the content of the emotion itself—for example, we might f...
Article
Empathy often feels automatic, but variations in empathic responding suggest that, at least some of the time, empathy is affected by one's motivation to empathize in any particular circumstance. Here, we show that people can be motivated to engage in (or avoid) empathy-eliciting situations with strangers, and that these decisions are driven by subj...
Preprint
Empathy often feels automatic, but variations in empathic responding suggest that, at least some of the time, empathy is affected by one’s motivation to empathize in any particular circumstance. Here, we show that people can be motivated to engage in (or avoid) empathy-eliciting situations with strangers, and that these decisions are driven by subj...
Article
Empathy is considered a virtue, yet it fails in many situations, leading to a basic question: When given a choice, do people avoid empathy? And if so, why? Whereas past work has focused on material and emotional costs of empathy, here, we examined whether people experience empathy as cognitively taxing and costly, leading them to avoid it. We devel...
Article
Our willingness to persist in problem solving is often held up as a critical component in being successful. Allied against this ability, however, are a number of situational factors that undermine our persistence. In the present investigation, the authors examine 1 such factor—knowing that the answers to a problem are easily accessible. Does having...
Preprint
Empathy is considered a virtue, yet fails in many situations, leading to a basic question: when given a choice, do people avoid empathy, and if so, why? Whereas past work has focused on material and emotional costs of empathy, here we examined whether people experience empathy as cognitively effortful, leading them to avoid it. We developed the Emp...
Article
The ease with which individuals can access information has changed drastically with the advent of the Internet. Understanding how this change in our information landscape influences thinking represents an important question for psychological science. Research has demonstrated that we have a fairly accurate sense of the relative availability of inte...

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