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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 May;80(5):782-96.

Devaluing domains in response to threatening intergroup comparisons: perceived legitimacy and the status value asymmetry.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721-0068, USA.


Group status and status legitimacy were tested as moderators of devaluing in response to threatening intergroup comparisons. In 3 experiments, participants received feedback comparing their in-group (based on school or gender) to a higher or lower status out-group. When the legitimacy of group status differences was assumed (Studies 1 and 2) or manipulated (Study 3), participants devalued the domain when their in-group compared unfavorably with a lower status out-group but did not devalue the domain when their in-group compared unfavorably with a higher status out-group. In Study 3, this status value asymmetry was eliminated when status differences were delegitimized. Mediational analyses suggested that the status value asymmetry was explained by the perceived utility of the domain for gaining status-relevant rewards.

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