At the library at Utrecht University
An exhibition-based experiment
Tears are vehicles for bonding between individuals. Tearful faces are particularly frequent in mass media portraits of refugees. To examine the effect of tearful images of refugees on solidarity with them, researchers from Utrecht University and Refugee.Today jointly launched an exhibition-based field experiment.
This study is part of the larger TEARAID project examining the effects of emotional tears on prosocial behavior offered to refugees. We aim to help understand how depictions of refugees affect perception, emotions and behavior towards this group.
In this study, we wanted to see how people respond to different representations of refugees. Specifically, in the experiment in which you participated, we have invited visitors to see one of the two versions of the exhibition. Some participants have seen images of refugees shedding tears while others have seen the same people not showing tears. The aim of this experiment was to see whether the type of emotional content has an influence on participants’ willingness to help refugees.
Example of manipulation with tears. Portrait BY MARTIN THAULOW
Stories & examples
Below you can see both versions of the 10 photographs, as well as read the real stories of the people shown in the portraits.
Shakor is the wife of Mohammed. The whole family suffered from depression, anxiety and despair, when the two oldes children were in danger of being deported back to Iraq. They all took part in a sit-in demonstration at the main square in Helsinki against the Finnish Government. It lasted for more than 250 days.
Hanen fled from Iraq. In 2016 she was in danger of being deported back to Iraq due to new laws in Finland. She was participating in a sit-in demonstration for 250 days. Every week approximately 50 people were rejected. Suicide rates sky rocketed among asylum seekers. The week this portrait was taken 6 attemopts were made one of them died.
Rasouli at Rautatientori Square in Helsinki. Rasouli fled the horrific situation in Iraq, and was one of the many rejected asylum seekers who ended up in the streets due to new laws in Finland. He was part of the ongoing sit-in demonstration that lasted for more than 250 days at the square.
Partners / collaborators / Funding
If you would like more information about this study, please contact the researcher Dr. Magdalena Bobowik [firstname.lastname@example.org]. If you prefer, you can reach out to an independent contact person, Dr. Jochem Thijs [email: email@example.com].
Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 896377 and by Migration and Societal Change Focus Theme, Utrecht University