Is in-group bias culture-dependent? A meta-analysis across 18 societies

Springerplus. 2016 Jan 22:5:70. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-1663-6. eCollection 2016.


We report a meta-analysis on the relationship between in-group bias and culture. Our focus is on whether broad macro-contextual variables influence the extent to which individuals favour their in-group. Data from 21,266 participants from 18 societies included in experimental and survey studies were available. Using Hofstede's (1980) and Schwartz (2006) culture-level predictors in a 3-level mixed-effects meta-analysis, we found strong support for the uncertainty-reduction hypothesis. An interaction between Autonomy and real vs artificial groups suggested that in low autonomy contexts, individuals show greater in-group bias for real groups. Implications for social identity theory and intergroup conflict are outlined.

Keywords: Autonomy; Culture; In-group bias; Individualism-collectivism; Minimal group paradigm; Social identity theory; Uncertainty.