It's not Black and White: Examining the Underlying Motives Behind Prejudice and Discrimination
Research concerned with evaluating the motivational basis of intergroup discrimination has tended to focus on the role of self-esteem. Decades of research has, however, failed to find a consistent association between these variables. This has led to the suggestion that there are other potential contributing motivational factors. One such motive relates to belonging (defined here as acceptance by members of the in-group). The research conducted as part of the present thesis, subsequently sought to examine the relationship between belonging and intergroup discrimination. To this end two studies were conducted. In the first study, it was hypothesised that people who showed intergroup discrimination would experience elevated levels of belonging. Support was found for this hypothesis. New Zealanders who evaluated in-group members (i.e., New Zealanders) more positively than out-group members (i.e., Americans) reported elevated levels of belonging. In the second study, two hypotheses were tested. The first stated that the display of a negative form of intergroup discrimination (i.e., the allocation of hot sauce) would lead to enhanced levels of belonging. The second stated that threats to perceived levels of belonging (manipulated through cyberball ostracism) would lead to increased patterns of negative intergroup discrimination. Support was found for the first but not the second hypothesis. New Zealanders who allocated more hot sauce to out-group members (i.e., Americans) rather than in-group members (i.e., New Zealanders) reported an increase in levels of belonging. In both studies, the relationship between belonging and the relative display of intergroup discrimination was not explained through other variables (i.e., personal self-esteem, control, meaning, group esteem and social identification). Together, such findings reveal a clear association between distinct forms of intergroup discrimination (i.e., comprising evaluations and the allocation of hot sauce) and elevated belonging. The ramifications of these findings are discussed.
Advisor: Hunter , Jackie
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Prejudice; Discrimination; Belonging; Social Psychology; Psychology
Research Type: Thesis