The Empathy Delusion

What We Did

The Empathy Delusion is the latest in a series of ground-breaking collaborations between house51 and Reach Solutions exploring the cultural relevance of marketing and advertising.

Inspired by the moral foundations framework of social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, we revealed that advertising and marketing professionals have no special aptitude for empathy and have highly individualistic intuitions that often fail to connect with the mainstream audiences’ greater focus on the ‘ethics of community’.

Published as a white paper in July 2019, the Empathy Delusion got the whole industry talking and won gold for Best Custom Media Research Project at the Mediatel Research Awards 2020:

Read more here:

What our client said

house51 are full of inspiring ideas and they have the savvy and creativity to execute them in a compelling way. Our collaboration goes from strength to strength. Empathy Delusion is a brilliant and award winning follow-up to the Gut Instinct study. house51 have taken our research to a new level. It has become a must see for anyone in media, creative or client side.”

– Director of Group Insight

In November 2019 our research was extensively referenced in ‘Lemon’, the new book by the IPA. Read more here


Literature review

Psychological profiling 

Quantitative survey

Behavioural experiments