Behavioral Preferences in Response to Social Injustice: The Effects of Group Permeability and Social Identity Salience

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The purpose of this study was to examine features of an intergroup context that can affect people's preferred responses to a situation of social injustice. Ninety research participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions of group permeability (open, token, or closed) and 1 of 2 conditions of social identity salience (not salient or salient). It was predicted on the basis of social identity theory that individualistic responses would be preferred to a collective response when group boundaries were more open but not when they were closed. It was also expected that under conditions of group impermeability, collective behavior would be preferred to a greater extent by individuals for whom social identity was salient than by individuals for whom it was not salient. The results, which generally supported these hypotheses, are discussed in terms of social psychological theories of intergroup relations and also with regard to their potential practical implications.

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