When majority members exclude ethnic minorities: The impact of shame on the desire to object to immoral acts

Mariette Berndsen, Nicolay Gausel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In recent years, ethnic minorities have experienced an increase in acts of exclusion. In two studies, we demonstrated how ingroup members' felt shame about such immoral behavior explained their desire to pro-socially object to this immorality by distancing from the perpetrating ingroup and by wanting to support the affected minorities. We showed how the desire to pro-socially object varies as a function of national identification. As expected, nationally attached identifiers' felt shame for the immoral behavior was linked with greater willingness to pro-socially object to it. The opposite pattern was found for nationally glorifying identifiers. In the second study, we found that anger directed at the ingroup partially explained the relationship between group-based shame and the pro-social desire to object. The results contribute to the literature on shame and pro-social motivations by showing that distancing from the perpetrating ingroup can be considered as a pro-social strategy rather than a defensive one.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)728-741
    Number of pages14
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
    Volume45
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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