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Michael J. Poulin

Associate Professor of Psychology
University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences


Empathy, human generosity, stress, caregiving

Head shot of Michael Poulin

Michael J. Poulin’s research explores humanity’s remarkable capacity for generosity. People are willing to give to and support others. They intervene on someone’s behalf, and often at great cost or risk to themselves. Why do people make these kinds of sacrifices for family, friends and even total strangers?

People often set aside the potential costs of their actions when they see someone in need. Poulin, PhD, examines the mechanisms that allow us to overlook these costs and how in turn these mechanisms might lower the barriers to valuing others. In fact, Poulin’s research indicates that people who feel compassion toward another will even act aggressively toward an unknown third party, showing that empathy can actually motivate aggression.

His work has been published in leading journals such as Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; Health Psychology; the American Journal of Public Health; Psychological Science.


Michael J. Poulin
Associate Professor of Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences