Downward Comparison, Prejudice, and Evaluations of Others: Effects of Self-Esteem and Threat

Jennifer Crocker*, Leigh L. Thompson, Kathleen M. McGraw, Cindy Ingerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

266 Scopus citations

Abstract

In two studies, we explored the effects of trait self-esteem and threats to the self-concept on evaluations of others. In Study 1, subjects high, moderate, and low in self-esteem received either success, failure, or no feedback on a test and later evaluated three pairs of targets: ingroups and outgroups based on a minimal intergroup manipulation, those who scored above average and those who scored below average on the test, and themselves and the average college student. Study 2 explored the effects of self-esteem and threat on ingroup favoritism in a real-world setting, campus sororites. Together, the results of these studies indicate that individuals high in self-esteem, but not those low in self-esteem, respond to threats to the self-concept by derogating outgroups relative to the ingroup when the group boundaries have evaluative implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-916
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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