Emotions in context: Anger causes ethnic bias but not gender bias in men but not women



Kuppens T, Pollet TV, Teixeira CP, Demoulin S, Roberts SC & Little A (2012) Emotions in context: Anger causes ethnic bias but not gender bias in men but not women. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42 (4), pp. 432-441.

Emotions influence information processing because they are assumed to carry valuable information. We predict that induced anger will increase ethnic but not gender intergroup bias because anger is related to conflicts for resources, and ethnic groups typically compete for resources, whereas gender groups typically engage in relations of positive interdependence. Furthermore, we also predict that this increased ethnic intergroup bias should only be observed among men because men show more groupbased reactions to intergroup conflict than women do. Two studies, with 65 and 120 participants, respectively, indeed show that anger induction increases ethnic but not gender intergroup bias and only for men. Intergroup bias was measured with an implicit measure. In Study 2, we additionally predict (and find) that fear induction does not change ethnic or gender intergroup bias because intergroup bias is a psychological preparation for collective action and fear is not associated with taking action against out-groups. We conclude that the effect of anger depends on its specific informational potential in a particular intergroup context. These results highlight that gender groups differ on a crucial point from ethnic groups and call for more attention to the effect of people's gender in intergroup relations research.

European Journal of Social Psychology: Volume 42, Issue 4

Publication date30/06/2012
Date accepted by journal20/12/2011

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Professor Craig Roberts

Professor Craig Roberts

Professor of Social Psychology, Psychology