SOCIAL IDENTITY COMPLEXITY AND INCLUSIVENESS AS MEDIATORS OF THE IMPACT OF A SOCIAL NORM ON ATTITUDES TOWARS OUTGROUPS
In this study, we investigated the predictive power of social identity complexity and inclusiveness on attitudes towards outgroups, the impact of a social norm on social identity complexity and inclusiveness, and their mediating role in the relationship between social norm and attitudes towards outgroups. Social identity complexity refers to individual's subjective representation of interrelationships between his/ her multiple social identities. Social identity inclusiveness refers to individual's identification with other people based on mutual group membership. We opted for national, ethnic and religious ingroups and outgrops. A total of 153 respondents (36% male), average age of 26, filled in the questionnaire. Results show that inclusiveness, unlike complexity, strongly predicts outgroup acceptance, measured with feelings thermometer and social distance scale. In the experimental phase of the study, we tried to induce changes in outgroup acceptance by presenting descriptive social norm to selected participants (N = 40) with lower initial acceptance. We also investigated mediating role of the perception of one's own ingroup boundaries (complexity and inclusiveness) in this process. Exposure to social norm, presented in the form of fictive scientific report, improved outgroup acceptance, but unexpectedly decreased social identity complexity. This might be due to the fact that the way in which social norm was designed has threatened distinctiveness of our respondents' identity, which consequently led to less complex perception of their own ingroup boundaries. For further research, we suggested introducing more specific interventions that would directly influence social identity complexity and should be compared among different groups.
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