Recent studies have found an attitudinal tendency for individuals to overconform to in‐group norms when the cognitive salience of their group membership is increased. The experiment described here investigated this effect in the context of anticipated intergroup interaction. Student subjects, selected to represent academic course groups, expected to debate social attitudes with members of a student out‐group or with other in‐group representatives. Subjects prepared for this debate individually by rehearsing relevant arguments or by engaging in intragroup discussion. Contrary to predictions derived from social identity theory, subjects forewarned of an intergroup debate moderated their positions on important in‐group attitudes. Attitude moderation was not supported by a cognitive reappraisal of relevant arguments. These findings suggest that the motive to present a favourable personal identity during intergroup interaction had a greater impact on expressed attitudes than subjects' social identity as representatives of a salient membership group.
British Journal of Social Psychology – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1984
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