The role of the self as an anchor in determining the extent to
which we like or dislike other people has been well-established
(Festinger, 1954; Hoyle, Kernis, Leary, & Baldwin, 1999; Suls &
Miller, 1977). In general, the higher the degree of similarity we share
with others, the more we tend to favor them over individuals with lesser
degrees of similarity (Heider, 1958; Tesser, 1986; Tesser, Millar, &
Moore, 1988). Given the high saliency, then, of our own recognition of
self (Baumgardner, 1990), the saliency of evaluations of others
vis-a-vis these similarities or dissimilarities has garnered much
In terms of explaining this evaluative process, one model which has
received much attention is the minimal group model (Tajfel, Flament,
Billing, & Bundy, 1971; Tajfel & Turner, 1979, 1986). According
to this model, individuals automatically favor those similar to them
(i.e., the ingroup) and reject those not similar to them (i.e., the
outgroup). This process occurs on both an individual and group level
(Hogg, 1987, 1992), and often results in discrimination (Mullin &
Hogg, 1998). Although not discussed here, some possible explanations for
this process include self-categorization theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes,
Reicher, & Wetherell, 1987), social identity theory (Tajfel &
Turner, 1986), evolutionary psychology (Buss & Kenrick, 1998), and
group norm theory of attitudes (Sherif & Sherif, 1953).
By expanding the minimal group model to our understanding of
prejudice, it is possible to explain why individuals hold negative
differing evaluations, or biases, of and against others. We readily
categorize individuals according to salient characteristics (Allport,
1954; Amiot & Bourhis, 1995), and once categorized, we have a
tendency to display a positive bias, or in-group favoritism, towards
those who match up most closely with our in-group characteristics, and a
negative bias, or out-group rejection, towards those who are less
similar (Brewer, 1979). However, whereas a simplified version of this
bias might indicate that individuals have a tendency to automatically
disfavor all out-groups equally, most research supports the notion that
the extent of out-group rejection varies according to which specific
out-groups are being studied.
Schmitt, Branscombe, and Kappen (2003), for example, describe how
"attitudes toward inequality are group-specific and depend on the
social-structural position of salient in-groups" (p. 161). This
recognizes that individuals must first be aware of salient in-group and
out-group characteristics in order for evaluations based on those
characteristics to be made. Others have discussed the formation of such
attitudes as a function of the prototypicality of the out-group members
themselves (Wenzel, Mummendey, Weber, & Waldzus, 2003). In other
words, in-group members may evaluate various out-group members
differently based on how similar or dissimilar they are to them, with
either positive or negative evaluations (Crisp & Nicel, 2004;
Mummendey & Otten, 1998). Furthermore, this evaluative process is
often dependent on an individual's goals and values (Turner &
Oakes, 1997) and prior expectations (Sherif & Cantril, 1947; Turner
& Giles, 1981) of out-group members.
Although individuals may differ in the personal evaluations they
make of various out-group members, their public expression of attitudes
towards those members may not genuinely reflect these positive and
negative biases. Crandall and Eshleman (2003), for example, proposed the
justification-suppression model which distinguishes between genuine
prejudice and the expression of such beliefs. According to this model,
individuals may hold negative attitudes towards several out-groups but
are restrained in terms of expressing those attitudes in light of
societal norms which suppress such expressions (Crandall, Eshleman,
& O'Brien, 2002; Monteith, Deneen, & Tooman, 1996). As
further stated by Wenzel, Mummendey, Weber, and Waldzus (2003),
"specific differences between groups may be evaluated differently
depending on the normative prescriptions that are perceived to apply in
that situation" (p. 461). As such, individuals are thus more likely
to express negative attitudes towards those groups who are relatively
more disadvantaged, and against whom such expression of negative
attitudes is less socially discouraged (Reynolds, Turner, & Haslam,
2000; Rokeach & Ball-Rokeach, 1989).
To date, our understanding of out-group rejection is based largely
on research investigating the attitudes and beliefs of an in-group
towards one out-group. For the current study, we were interested in
determining what factors may help explain instances of positive and
negative evaluations when multiple out-groups were involved. For ease of
interpretation, we shall use the term congruent prejudice to indicate
when out-groups are viewed equally positive or negative, and the term
discordant prejudice to indicate when different out-groups are not
viewed equally positive and negative. We thus include positive
evaluations of out-group members as part of our definition of prejudice
(for a review of positive prejudice, see Dutton, 1976), although this
view is not widely shared (e.g., Crandall & Eshleman, 2003).
Several factors have been identified in prior research as
predictors of congruent prejudice. These include social dominance
orientation (Guimond, Dambrun, Michinov, & Duarte, 2003), religious
fundamentalism (Altemeyer & Hunsberger, 1992), egalitarian beliefs
(Dovidio, Mann, & Gaertner, 1989), and a belief in fixed human
character (Hong et al., 2004), among others. However, as stated earlier,
these factors have been examined in terms of how they can be used to
predict levels of attitudes of one in-group toward one out-group,
without distinguishing among multiple out-groups simultaneously. The
purpose of the current study was to extend our understanding of the
minimal group model to include the evaluations made by one in-group to
Given the relative homogeneity of our campus' demographics, we
chose White heterosexuals as the default in-group for the current study.
The out-groups chosen were Blacks and gays. Although exploratory in
nature, we did proffer several hypotheses. Specifically, as individuals
with higher egalitarian beliefs are less likely to form evaluations of
others based on mere social categorizations (Den Bergh, Dewitte, &
De Cremer, 2006; Rabinowitz, Wittig, von Braun, Franke, &
Zander-Music, 2005), it was hypothesized that egalitarian beliefs would
predict differences in congruent and discordant prejudice, meaning that
those with more egalitarian beliefs would express similar levels of
positive attitudes towards both out-groups, while those with less
egalitarian beliefs would express similar levels of negative attitudes
toward both out-groups.
The basis for this hypothesis concerning egalitarian beliefs is
consistent with recent research indicating that the affective reactions
that individuals have towards out-group members can be described as a
function of their egalitarianism-related goals. Gawronski, Peters,
Brochu, and Strack (2008), for example, employ a cognitive consistency
perspective in describing how Whites differ in their evaluations of
Blacks based on the extent to which their perceptions of discrimination
towards Blacks match their own non-prejudicial beliefs. As discussed by
the authors, these results "may provide deeper insights into the
underlying dynamics of different components [emphasis added] in
prejudice-related belief systems" (p. 663). Although their research
was specifically aimed towards one out-group, i.e., Blacks, it is
reasonable to suggest that individuals with non-prejudicial beliefs
would seek to express consistent egalitarian beliefs in evaluating
multiple out-groups, i.e., Blacks and gays, which also incorporate
Furthermore, it was hypothesized that religious fundamentalism and
work ethic would further explain instances of discordant prejudice.
Specifically, as some modern interpretations of Judeo-Christian
religious texts support discrimination based on sexual orientation but
not race (Boisvert, 2007), we predicted that strongly religious
individuals would express positive attitudes towards Blacks but not
gays. Bizumic and Duckitt (2007), in a study on self-centeredness,
discovered that fundamentalism was positively associated with one's
in-group, and negatively associated with one's out-group. As such,
fundamentalists, in an effort to be consistent with their religious
beliefs, are more likely to disregard differences in race and instead
focus more on differences in sexual orientation as the basis for their
Conversely, as adherence to a Protestant work ethic (PWE) has been
used as justification for the expression of negative attitudes towards
Blacks in the US (Levy, West, Ramirez, & Karafantis, 2006), but not
for gays, we predicted that those with a stronger work ethic would
express negative attitudes towards Blacks but not gays. Furnham (1982),
for example, reported how individuals who score higher on PWE are less
likely to be sympathetic towards individuals on welfare. Given that
Blacks are stereotyped to have a poorer work ethic compared to Whites
(e.g., Thomas, 2003), it was thought that race would be a more salient
categorization for evaluative purposes than would sexual orientation,
which does not have comparable, negative, work-related stereotypes.
A total of 436 participants from a medium-sized Midwestern
university completed all study materials in exchange for research credit
towards their introductory psychology course. Of these, 109 participants
were excluded from analyses after indicating that they did not belong to
the study in-group of White heterosexuals. The study sample thus
included 327 participants with the following demographics: n = 235
females (71.9%), n = 92 males (28.1%), mean age of 19.4 years (range
As part of a larger study, participants completed a packet of
questionnaires via computer in small-group settings. This packet
included a brief demographic questionnaire (including age, gender, race
and sexual orientation, among other filler items), the Heterosexual
Attitudes Toward Homosexuality scale (HATH: Larsen, Reed, & Hoffman,
1980), the Religious Fundamentalism scale (RF: Altemeyer &
Hunsberger, 1992), and four scales developed by Katz and Hass (1988):
the Pro-Black, Anti-Black, Protestant Ethic (PE), and
Humanitarianism-Egalitarianism (HE) scales. All participants completed
the demographic questionnaire first, whereas the remaining scales were
counter-balanced in the order of their administration.
The HATH scale (Larsen, Reed, & Hoffman, 1980) consists of 20
items which measure individuals' level of prejudice towards
homosexuals. On a 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree scale,
participants respond to such items as "Homosexuality is
immoral" and "Homosexuals should be accepted completely in our
society" (reverse-scored). The reported internal reliability of
this scale is [alpha] = .95.
The Pro-Black and Anti-Black scales (Katz & Hass, 1988) measure
individuals' level of prejudice towards African-Americans. The
ProBlack scale consists of 10 items such as "Blacks have more to
offer than they have been allowed to show," to which participants
respond on a 1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree scale. The
reported internal reliability of this scale is [alpha] = .73. The
Anti-Black scale consists of 10 items such as "The root cause of
most of the social and economic ills of Blacks is the weakness and
instability of the Black family," to which participants respond on
a 1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree scale. The reported
internal reliability of this scale is [alpha] = .80.
The Religious Fundamentalism scale (Altemeyer & Hunsberger,
1992) consists of 20 items such as "God will punish most severely
those who abandon his true religion" and "It is more important
to be a good person than to believe in God and the right religion"
(reverse-scored) to which participants respond on a 1 = strongly
disagree to 6 = strongly agree scale. The reported internal reliability
of this scale is between [alpha] = .93 and .95. The
Humanitarianism-Egalitarianism scale (Katz & Hass, 1988) consists of
10 items such as "One should be kind to all people" to which
participants respond on a 1 = strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree
scale. The reported internal reliability of this scale is [alpha] = .83.
The Protestant Ethic scale (Katz & Hass, 1988) consists of 10 items
such as "If people work hard enough they are likely to make a good
life for themselves" to which participants respond on a 1 =
strongly disagree to 6 = strongly agree scale. The reported reliability
of this scale is [alpha] = .76.
Upon completion of these measures, all participants were fully
debriefed, thanked for their participation, and dismissed. All materials
and procedures were approved by the university institutional review
Before analyses were conducted, a number of composite variables
were created. To determine levels of prejudice towards gays,
participants' scores on the HATH scale were averaged, with
appropriate items reverse-scored ([alpha] = .96). A dichotomous split at
the mean of participants' responses was then conducted to form two
categories: those with high (n = 150) and low (n = 177) levels of
prejudice towards gays.
To determine levels of prejudice towards Blacks, participants'
scores on the Pro-Black and Anti-Black scales were scored such that
higher scores reflected higher levels of prejudice, with appropriate
items reverse-scored. Internal consistencies for these scales were
[alpha] = .76 and [alpha] = .84, respectively. These scales were then
averaged ([alpha] = .81), and a dichotomous split at the mean of
participants' responses was conducted to form two categories: those
with high (n = 164) and low (n = 163) levels of prejudice towards
For use as dependent variables, participants' scores on
religious fundamentalism were averaged together, with appropriate items
being reverse-scored ([alpha] = .92). Participants' scores on
egalitarianism were averaged together to form a composite variable
([alpha] = .83), as were participants' scores on work ethic
([alpha] = .71).
Next, as shown in Table 1, a series of 2 (prejudice towards gays:
high and low) X 2 (prejudice towards Blacks: high and low) ANOVAs were
conducted. (1) A significant main effect was found for prejudice towards
gays. Participants with high levels of prejudice towards gays expressed
higher beliefs in religious fundamentalism (M = 3.35) than those with
low levels of prejudice (M = 2.58), F(1, 104) = 21.10, p < .001,
[[eta].sup.2] = .17, observed power = .99. Conversely, participants with
lower levels of prejudice towards gays expressed higher beliefs in
egalitarianism (M = 5.04) than those with high levels of prejudice (M =
4.64), F(1, 106) = 12.47, p = .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .11, observed power
A significant main effect was also found for prejudice towards
Blacks. Specifically, participants with low levels of prejudice towards
Blacks expressed higher beliefs in egalitarianism (M = 5.04) than those
with high levels of prejudice (M = 4.64), F(1, 106) = 13.15, p <
.001, [[eta].sup.2] = .11, observed power = .95. There were no
significant main effects of either variable in terms of work ethic, nor
were there any significant interactions between variables, all Fs <
Next, a series of planned contrast t-tests were conducted to
compare results for the congruent prejudice groups, i.e., those who
scored both high (n = 91) or low (n = 104) in terms of prejudice towards
both out-groups. As predicted, participants with overall low levels of
prejudice scored higher in egalitarianism (M = 5.21) than did those with
high levels of prejudice (M = 4.40), t(62) = 5.09, p < .001,
[r.sup.2] = .30. Furthermore, participants with overall high levels of
prejudice scored higher in religious fundamentalism (M = 3.14) than did
those with low levels of prejudice (M = 2.60), t(64) = 2.57, p = .01,
[r.sup.2] = .09.
A series of planned contrast t-tests were also conducted to compare
results for the discordant groups, i.e., those with low levels of
prejudice towards gays but high levels of prejudice towards Blacks (n =
73) and those with low levels of prejudice towards Blacks but high
levels of prejudice towards gays (n = 59). As predicted, participants in
the latter group scored higher in religious fundamentalism (M = 3.56)
than did participants in the former group (M = 2.56), t(40) = 3.86, p
< .001, [r.sup.2] = .27. However, participants in the former group
did not differ in levels of work ethic (M = 4.16) from those in the
latter (M = 4.05), t(42) = 0.60, ns.
A series of post-hoc analyses were also conducted to test for
gender effects. A significant main effect was found for egalitarianism
such that females (M = 5.00) scored higher than males (M = 4.48), F(1,
108) = 15.29, p < .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .12. Furthermore, a
significant main effect was found for prejudice towards gays such that
males expressed higher levels of prejudice (M = 3.63) than did females
(M = 2.53), F(1, 325) = 48.41, p < .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .13. There
were no significant interactions involving gender on any variables, all
Fs < 3.44, ns.
In an increasingly diverse society, social interactions among
individuals of differing backgrounds are more the norm than the
exception. Yet despite the frequency of these interactions, the social
inequality among members of differing groups continues to be pervasive
(Oaks, Haslam, & Turner, 1994; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999).
Although research indicates that, in general, it is becoming less
acceptable in our society to overtly express prejudices (e.g., Campbell,
1947; Dovidio & Gaertner, 1986; Dowden & Robinson, 1993), a
universal attitude of tolerance toward all groups has yet to be adopted.
As previously discussed, the justification-suppression model
(Crandall & Eshleman, 2003) describes how social norms influence the
expression of such prejudice towards various social groups. In our
culture, race is a more salient social category than is sexual
orientation (Schmitt, Branscombe, & Kappen, 2003). As such, the
social consequences of expressing negative attitudes based on race are
much more severe than are the consequences of expressing negative
attitudes based on sexual orientation. In light of this distinction, in
this study we sought to identify in White heterosexual students which
factors predict levels of congruent and discordant prejudice towards
Blacks and gays.
In examining each out-group separately, several significant results
were obtained. In terms of attitudes towards gays, higher levels of
egalitarianism predicted lower levels of prejudice, whereas higher
levels of religious fundamentalism predicted higher levels of prejudice.
From the perspective of the minimal group model, it is possible that
individuals with egalitarian beliefs are more likely to form evaluations
of others based on similarities between groups. In other words, the
negative attitudes normally associated with out-group rejection are
replaced with the positive attitudes normally associated with in-group
favoritism by extending the in-group to form a superordinate category in
which such differences are less salient (Rubin & Badea, 2007).
Individuals high in religious fundamentalism, who conversely are more
likely to rely on firm distinctions between groups (Cairns, Kenworthy,
Campbell, & Hewstone, 2006), would thus display higher levels of
out-group rejection, as indicated by the results. A similar explanation
could be suggested for the finding that individuals with more
egalitarian beliefs express lower levels of prejudice towards Blacks:
race is not as salient a social categorization as is the superordinate
category which includes all races, i.e., human.
This inclusion of others in a superordinate category would also
explain the results concerning instances of congruent prejudice in which
multiple out-groups are being evaluated simultaneously. As predicted,
individuals with higher levels of egalitarianism expressed more positive
attitudes towards both out-groups than did individuals with lower levels
of egalitarianism. Similarly, individuals with higher levels of
religious fundamentalism expressed more negative attitudes towards both
groups. However, as noted by McFarland (1982), the relationship between
religious fundamentalism and prejudice is typically dependent upon
whether such religious beliefs are intrinsic or extrinsic in nature--a
key distinction which was not directly addressed in this study.
In terms of discordant prejudice, as hypothesized, religious
fundamentalism did predict when individuals would express positive
attitudes towards Blacks yet negative attitudes towards gays. This again
highlights the importance of including multiple out-groups in studies of
prejudice to determine the extent to which levels of out-group rejection
apply to specific out-groups. However, contrary to our hypothesis, work
ethic did not predict instances of discordant prejudice in which
individuals express positive attitudes towards gays yet negative
attitudes towards Blacks. As such, it is still unclear what factors
predict this combination of attitudes held by roughly one-quarter of our
sample (22.32%). In explaining why some individuals like gays but not
Blacks, it is possible that the in-group relied on differing standards
of social inclusion. In other words, the in-group may have felt it more
possible to include White gays but not Black gays, making it thus
dependent on the saliency of the superordinate category which includes
them both (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999). Apparently, attitudes toward
work ethic do not explain these differences in social inclusion.
Prior research has noted the effect of gender on attitudes towards
homosexuals, with females generally expressing more positive attitudes
than males (e.g., Herek, 2002). Given the relatively higher percentage
of females in this study, a number of post-hoc analyses involving gender
were conducted. Results indicated that females did express more positive
attitudes towards gays, as well as higher overall levels of
egalitarianism than did males. This is consistent with prior research
indicating that males are higher in social dominance orientation than
are females (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). However, given that our
results did not yield any significant interactions between gender and
other study variables, levels of congruent and discordant prejudice do
not appear to be dependent on the gender of the individual making the
One particular limitation to the current study involves how levels
of prejudice towards Blacks were determined. As this was part of a
larger study, two measures of attitudes were included, with one focusing
on positive attitudes and the other on negative attitudes. Although we
feel the same information was garnered after collapsing
participants' responses to these two measures, future research
could include more standard measures of prejudice towards Blacks, such
as the Attitudes Towards Blacks scale (ATB: Brigham, 1993) or the Modern
Racism Scale (MRS: McConahay, 1986). Also, the low effect size estimates
reported along with the results were likely influenced by the
dichotomization of both prejudice scales, potentially reducing the
variability associated with these measures.
Although at times we have discussed these differences in
evaluations of out-group members as it may relate to discrimination,
this study only measured participants' affective orientation
towards these out-groups, with no subsequent behavioral measures. Past
research has discussed how the automatic nature of social categorization
can engender behavioral consequences (Gordijn & Stapel, 2006; Plant
& Devine, 1998), and additional research which includes behavioral
measures would thus be beneficial. It is possible that these attitudes
would not result in actual discrimination towards non-ingroup members,
although there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that such
discrimination does occur.
Also, although this study was conducted in an attempt to uncover
the processes responsible for discordant prejudice in general, we fully
acknowledged that this study only investigated specific in-groups and
out-groups. For example, it is possible that levels of egalitarianism
may apply more globally to other groups not studied here, but it is
likely that religious fundamentalism is specific to this particular
combination of outgroups. To determine the full extent to which these
and other measures predict levels of discordant prejudice toward
differing combinations of out-groups, additional research with respect
to such combinations will be necessary.
As our society continues to increase in terms of diversity, it is
imperative that we continue to contribute to our understanding of how
our evaluations of others are influenced by differing degrees of
similarity. Knowing that individuals continue either to include or
exclude others based on such categorizations (Abrams, Hogg, &
Marques, 2005; Dessel, Rogge, & Garlington, 2006), the greater the
degree to which we can explain such occurrences, the greater our chances
of learning how to improve intergroup relations.
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Footnote (1) To prevent loss of power and potential spurious
results, participants' prejudice scores were originally analyzed as
continuous variables in a series of hierarchical multiple regression
analyses. However, it was discovered that the same results were obtained
by analyzing dichotomized variables in a factorial design. For ease of
interpretation, only the ANOVA results are reported here.
Michael G. Dudley, Daniel Mulvey
Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Author info: Correspondence should be sent to: Dr. Michael G.
Dudley, Department of Psychology, Campus Box 1121, Southern Illinois
University Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1121, e-mail:
TABLE 1 ANOVA Results for Egalitarianism, Religious
Fundamentalism, and Work Ethic
Variable Source of Variation SS df MS
Prejudice Towards Gays 4.17 1 4.17
Prejudice Towards Blacks 4.40 1 4.40
Interaction 0.09 1 0.09
Within 35.49 106 0.34
Prejudice Towards Gays 14.99 1 14.99
Prejudice Towards Blacks 1.35 1 1.35
Interaction 0.93 1 0.93
Within 73.92 104 0.71
Protestant Work Ethic
Prejudice Towards Gays 0.03 1 0.03
Prejudice Towards Blacks 0.51 1 0.51
Interaction 0.02 1 0.02
Within 39.10 105 0.37
Variable Source of Variation F p
Prejudice Towards Gays 12.47 .001
Prejudice Towards Blacks 13.15 .000
Interaction 0.28 .600
Prejudice Towards Gays 21.10 .000
Prejudice Towards Blacks 1.90 .171
Interaction 1.31 .256
Protestant Work Ethic
Prejudice Towards Gays 0.07 .787
Prejudice Towards Blacks 1.38 .244
Interaction 0.05 .832