Intergroup Agency Bias

Description: Agency constitutes an ability to affect one’s situation and communion is an ability to form meaningful relationships with others. Seen as a cross-culturally universal framework for how people construct the world, these dimensions have been theorized to be fundamental and pivotal for social perception. With this project, we aim to test whether agency and communion (i.e., measured as sociability and morality) attributions vary as a function of contextual factors such as imagining to compete or collaborate with different groups. Bridging together research on the Big Two and intergroup relations, we investigate whether ingroup favouritism –attributing higher levels of both agency and communion are more likely to emerge when the outgroup is presented as a competitor (vs. collaborator). preliminary findings showed that people favour their ingroup when asked to imagine a competing (vs. collaborating) situation by ascribing more agency, as well as sociability and morality, to their group, whereas when asked to imagine a collaborative situation no intergroup differences emerged. Interestingly, the most valued dimension for outgroup seems to be morality even in competitive settings. Future research will further investigate the role of morality in those situations in which corruption might take place (e.g., politics).

Representative Publications:

  • Bettinsoli, M.L.; Formanowicz, M.; Suitner, C. My group is better than yours as long as we compete. Manuscript in preparation