Picture of Syrian refugee crisis

Researchers report that Internet searches of and donations to Syrian refugees spiked after the publication of an image of a young Syrian child lying face down on a Turkish beach, suggesting that an iconic photo of a single child drew people’s attention to the Syrian refugee crisis to a greater extent than previous statistical reports of hundreds of thousands of deaths, but that the empathy waned quickly.

Article #16-13977: “Iconic photographs and the ebb and flow of empathic response to humanitarian disasters,” by Paul Slovic, Daniel Västfjäll, Arvid Erlandsson, and Robin Gregory.