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Title: Responses to metastereotype activation amongst members of devalued groups
Author: Owuamalam, Chuma Kevin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2671 3455
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is concerned with responses to metastereotype activation amongst members of devalued groups. Metastereotypes are impressions that group members expect an outgroup to have of one's group (Vorauer et al., 1998). Until recently, research has focused primarily on establishing the content, accuracy and conditions that are necessary for activating metastereotypes, often from the perspective of dominant groups. Conceptualised as a form of social identity threat this thesis examined three responses to metastereotype activation derived from social identity theory (SIT; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). These are: identity distancing, identity re-negotiation (i.e., improvement) and defensive derogation/reciprocity. Findings across the four empirical chapters presented in this thesis suggest that use of the three responses to metastereotype activation were consistent with identity improvement needs. Specifically, the four studies presented in Chapter 2 showed that group members distanced themselves from their social identity when negative metastereotypes were activated (Studies 1-4): this effect was fully mediated by self-esteem (Study 4). Because identity distancing implies apathy towards group-serving behaviours, Chapters 3 and 4 examined the implications of negative metastereotype salience on identity improvement actions.· These were collective action (Chapter 3) and outgroup helping (Chapter 4). The moderating roles of identification and cognitive appraisals (i.e., the perceived likelihood of identity improvement actions achieving the desired ends) in seeking identity improvement were also examined in the studies presented in Chapters 3 and 4. Results showed that activating Vlll negative metastereotypes led to greater orientation towards identity improvement (e.g., collective action [Studies 5-6] or outgroup helping [Study 7]) but only when group members were strongly convinced that the strategies they adopt can improve outgroup's perception of the ingroup. Importantly, this effect was only evident amongst high, but not low identifiers (Studies 5-7). Given that group members seem primarily motivated to manage the perception that the dominant outgroup has of the ingroup, the studies presented in Chapter 5 sought to establish how judgements of a dominant outgroup may be affected by negative metastereotype activation. Because negative metastereotypes could elicit anger feelings among group members, it was reasoned that those who activate these beliefs may evaluate the outgroup negatively in line with reciprocity norm. However, such reciprocity should only be evident in situations where group members' judgments will not reinforce outgroup's negative opinions of the ingroup (e.g., in public). Results confirmed these expectations. Group members reflected the valence of the activated metastereotypes in their evaluation of the outgroup only when the audience was ingroup (Studies 8-9): an effect that was fully mediated by anger. However, the reciprocity pattern observed across these two studies was particularly evident amongst high but not for low identifiers. In line with a need to manage the outgroup's perception of the Ingroup, high identifiers reciprocated the valence of the activated metastereotypes privately (before an ingroup audience [Studies 8-9]) but not publicly (before an outgroup audience [Study 9]). Finally, Chapter 6 (general discussion) presents a summary of the results and discusses these with respect to some key theories of intergroup relations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available