This study investigated the independent effects of power differentials on intergroup behaviour. Using a variant of Tajfel's minimal group paradigm (Tajfel and Turner, 1979), subjects were arbitrarily categorized into groups of differing power (0‐100 per cent) at two levels of salience. Subjects were asked to distribute resources to ingroup and outgroup others using Tajfel's matrices. Intergroup perceptions, group identifications and self‐reported strategies constituted our other dependent measures. Minimal group results, replicated in equal power conditions, were systematically eliminated in unequal power conditions on the matrix measures but not on the intergroup perception measures. Dominant group members were more discriminatory, felt more comfortable and satisfied than subordinate group members. Though consistent with Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979), results suggest we may also have identified boundary conditions for minimal group discrimination. Without power, social categorization does not lead to effective discrimination.
European Journal of Social Psychology – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1985
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