Emotion and Intergroup Relations

  • Mackie D
  • Maitner A
  • Smith E
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When the social identities people develop as members of groups become salient, people perceive the world in terms of the costs and benefits to that salient group membership. This means that events that have no implications for the individual him or herself can be perceived as harmful, beneficial, offensive, complimentary, unfair, or just, for example, depending on the consequences those events have for the group. As a result, perceptions of intergroup events, anticipated intergroup interactions, or ongoing structural intergroup relations elicit group-based emotions—emotions that individuals feel as members of their groups. These emotions influence individuals' perceptions, interpretations, and actions toward their ingroup, relevant outgroups, and any other objects and events that are relevant to group membership. Thus, emotions play a critical role in intergroup relations, energizing desires to cooperate or compete, to retaliate or make peace. Focusing on the role of such emotions has contributed to an understanding of the social nature of emotion, as well as to the antecedents of intergroup conflict and the necessary conditions for its resolution. That understanding will be promoted by further clarification of the nature of social identity, the process of identification, the anticipation of emotions in others, and the time course of emotions, both in general and in the context of group membership in particular.

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  • Diane M. Mackie

  • Angela T. Maitner

  • Eliot R. Smith

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