Collective self-esteem predicts the extent to which low-status group members favor a high-status outgroup
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It remains unclear whether low-status group members show favoritism toward a high-status outgroup. To answer this question, the present study divided 180 senior high school students into different three-person groups using the minimal intergroup paradigm. Each group was required to solve a problem together and then was informed that they had performed either well (high-status) or poorly (low-status). Next, the psychological distance to the ingroups and outgroups and collective self-esteem of each participant were measured. Members from high-status groups consistently reported a closer psychological distance to the ingroup than the outgroup (ingroup bias), whereas members from the low-status groups exhibited a reverse pattern; i.e., they reported a closer psychological distance to the high-status outgroup than the ingroup (outgroup bias). Moreover, collective self-esteem positively predicted the extent of outgroup bias such that ingroup members with higher collective self-esteem were less tolerable to the low status of their ingroup. In conclusion, the preference for high status triumphed the preference for ingroup in low-status group members, and collective self-esteem may be an important individual difference that predicted the extent of favoring high-status outgroups.
KeywordsLow-status groups Outgroup bias Ingroup bias Collective self-esteem
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71472156). On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
Conceived and designed the study: Z. Li, M. Xu.
Collected the data: L. Fan and L. Zhang.
Wrote the first draft of the paper: Z. Li.
Revised the paper: Z. Li and D. Yang.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
All authors declare no conflict of interest.
The study was not preregistered. Data cannot be made publicly available because this would violate the confidentiality agreement in the informed consent. The dataset contains sensitive personal information (i.e., full name, parents information and home address), which was not allowed to be made publicly to protect the privacy and the security of the students.
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