Ingroup favoritism versus black sheep effects in observations of informal conversations

  • Khan S
  • Lambert A
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Abstract

This research was designed to gain insight into the psychological mechanisms underlying the "black sheep effect" (e.g., J. M. Marques et al, 1988), using a paradigm that addressed 2 potential limitations of previous research in this area. First, this research varied the group membership of the 95 observers in combination with that of the target (i.e., an Observer * Target design), which is necessary to provide a strict test of the effect. Second, the group membership manipulation was more subtle than in previous research. This allowed testing of whether participants would spontaneously use group membership as a basis for derogating dislikeable members of the ingroup. These issues were explored using a "get acquainted paradigm" in which male or female participants read transcripts of a conversation between 2 students whose apparent gender was manipulated by varying their first names (e.g., Jim vs. Ann). The existence of both ingroup favoritism and black sheep effects was successfully demonstrated in this paradigm, although the magnitude of these effects was stronger for female than for male participants. Implications of these results for a theoretical framework presented by Marques et al as well as recent models of assimilation and contrast are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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Authors

  • Saera Khan

  • Alan J. Lambert

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