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Message content, group identification and the intergroup sensitivity effect: Responses to the message and recognition memory

2008-12-01
Tekman, Hasan G.
Hortacsu, Nuran
Ok, Ahmet
An intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE) is people's tendency to react more negatively to a criticism when it was made by an outgroup member than when the same criticism was made by an ingroup member. The present study investigated variation in ISE when the criticism was varied in terms of valence (absence of positive qualities or presence of negative qualities) and level of abstraction (traits or behaviours). Dependent measures were emotional reactions to the criticism, perceived constructiveness, ingroup bias, and recognition memory for the criticism. All participants showed an ISE to the negative abstract criticism. In addition, consistent with the social identity account of ISE, participants' levels of identification with their ingroup moderated the ISE in some of the measures.