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Reducing Intergroup Bias: Does Dual Identification Help or Harm?


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Principal Investigator(s):

Elmar Schlueter
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Email: elmar.schlueter @ sowi.uni-giessen.de
Home page: http://www.uni-giessen.de/cms/fbz/fb03/institute/ifs/perso/schlueter

Oliver Christ
Philipps-University of Marburg
Email: christ@staff.uni-marburg.de
Home page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb04/ag-meth/team/christ

Sample size: 274
Field period: 03/06/2006- 03/26/2006

 

Abstract:

This project examined how experimentally induced threats to the ingroup affect intergroup attitudes of European and African Americans depending on the degree of their ethnic and national identifications. The study was designed to replicate and extend findings obtained with European participants (Ullrich et al., 2006) by examining more closely 1) the role of participants’ majority/minority status as a potential moderator variable, and 2) the role of ingroup projection as a potential mediator variable. Ullrich and colleagues first examined how dual identification might interact with intergroup threat. However, they examined only a high status majority group’s (i.e., Germans’) attitudes toward a low status minority group (i.e., Eastern Europeans joining the European Union). They found that threats to the ingroup caused more negative outgroup attitudes, and that this effect was most pronounced among participants strongly identified both at the subgroup (Germany) and the superordinate level (Europe). They also obtained preliminary evidence that ingroup projection (i.e., the tendency to view the ingroup as more prototypical of the superordinate category than the outgroup) increased in parallel ways as suggested by Waldzus and colleagues (Waldzus, Mummendey, & Wenzel, 2005) but could not demonstrate mediation of threat effects. Given that a dual identity strategy had been advocated in prior research as an enhancer of other prejudice reduction efforts (e.g., intergroup contact, Gonzales & Brown, 2003; Hornsey & Hogg, 2000) – especially for minority group members (Brown & Hewstone, 2005; Gaertner & Dovidio, 2005) – it is important to replicate Ullrich and colleagues’ findings both for majority and minority group particiapnts. Moreover, it is vital that ingroup projection be better understood as the presumed mediating process.
Our study was designed to do just that. Following Ullrich and colleagues very closely in terms of experimental procedures, we found the threat manipulation to be effective only for majority group members (i.e., European Americans).

Experimental Manipulation:

Threat and advantage

Key Dependent Variables:

Outgroup attitudes.

Summary of Findings:

Our study was designed to do just that. Following Ullrich and colleagues very closely in terms of experimental procedures, we found the threat manipulation to be effective only for majority group members (i.e., European Americans). In the experimental condition where they were led to think about risks and disadvantages associated with living together with African Americans, they perceived more threat relative to a control condition. In contrast, there was a tendency for African Americans to perceive more threat in the condition where they were led to think about benefits and advantages associated with living together with European Americans. Further analyses showed that outgroup attitudes, our central dependent variable, did not differ across experimental conditions. Moreover, there was no effect on ingroup projection tendencies, and subgroup and superordinate identification did not interact with the threat manipulation.


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