Who Cares What the Outgroup Thinks? Testing an Information Search Model of the Importance Individuals Accord to an Outgroup Member's View of Them During Intergroup Interaction

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Abstract

Four studies examined whether the intensity of individuals' concern with evaluation is affected by whether they are engaged in intragroup or intergroup interaction. According to the authors' theoretical framework, the importance that individuals attach to another person's opinion is a function of how predictive that person's evaluation seems to be of their social standing and outcomes. Members of lower status groups are more invested in outgroup members' opinions with increasing perceived legitimacy of the group status difference because outgroup members are seen as better judges of the competencies necessary for success in society. Members of a higher status group are more invested in outgroup members' opinions with decreasing perceived legitimacy of the group status difference because out-group members are seen as better judges of moral goodness. Results were generally consistent with these predictions and demonstrated that intergroup exchanges are sometimes characterized by heightened levels of the basic motivation to know one's social standing with others. Findings also revealed that the interactive effect of group status and perceived legitimacy extends to egocentric biases that contribute to tension and miscommunication in intergroup interaction.

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