Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The influence of authoritarianism, social dominance, and ingroup identification on ingroup favoritism and outgroup discrimination in a minimal group paradigm were investigated in this study. Possible effects of majority and minority group size interactions with these constructs were also examined. It has been previously shown that right-wing authoritarianism (Altemeyer, 1981) and social dominance orientation (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994) influence ingroup favoritism and outgroup discrimination in Tajfel's (1978) minimal group paradigm (McFarland & Ageyev, 1992; Perrault & Bourhis, 1999; Sidanius, Pratto, & Mitchell, 1994). Majority and minority group status also influence behavior in minimal groups (Gerard & Hoyt, 1974; Otten, Mummendey, & Blanz, 1996; Sachdev & Bourhis, 1984; Simon & Brown, 1987). Based on motivational differences between authoritarianism and social dominance, individuals higher in authoritarianism were expected to display greater ingroup favoritism than those lower in authoritarianism, regardless of group size. Social dominance was expected to interact with group size such that individuals higher on this dimension in minority groups would identify less with the ingroup, as opposed to those in majority groups who would identify more, and display less favoritism toward the ingroup than those in majority groups. To create minimal groups, participants completed an estimation task and were told that their scores indicated they were either "overestimators" or "underestimators." Three conditions were established: Neutral (group size was unspecified), majority (one group was identified as being numerically large), and minority (one group was identified as being numerically small). Trait ratings (Thompson & Crocker, 1990) and Tajfel's (1978) resource allocation task were used to measure ingroup favoritism. Participants overall displayed ingroup favoritism on both dependent measures, although parity was used most on the Tajfel (1978) matrices. Neither authoritarianism, social dominance, nor any interaction between these constructs and group size significantly affected trait ratings. On the matrices, authoritarianism led to favoritism on only one of the six pull scores and did not interact with group size. Social dominance led those in the neutral condition to display greater ingroup favoritism. Contrary to predictions, social dominance led those in majority groups to select parity over favoritism, but did not affect those in minority groups. Finally, ingroup identification mediated the relationship between social dominance and ingroup favoritism on the trait ratings for those in neutral and minority groups, though not in the predicted direction. Those in minority groups gave more positive trait ratings to the ingroup rather than to the majority outgroup as their identification with the ingroup increased.


Psychology | Race and Ethnicity