Concern for the in-group and opposition to affirmative action

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Jun;90(6):961-74. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.90.6.961.


The present experiments suggest that the desire to benefit the in-group drives dominant-group members' policy preferences, independent of concern for out-groups' outcomes. In Experiment 1, the effect of a manipulation of affirmative action procedures on policy support was mediated by how Whites expected the policy to affect fellow Whites, but not by the expected effect on minorities. In Experiments 2 and 3, when focused on losses for the White in-group, Whites' racial identity was negatively related to support for affirmative action. However, when focused on gains for the Black out-group or when participants were told that Whites were not affected by the policy, racial identity did not predict attitudes toward the policy. In Experiments 2 and 3, perceived fairness mediated these effects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude*
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Female
  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Public Policy
  • Race Relations*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Dominance
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Justice
  • United States
  • White People / psychology*