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The more, the merrier? Numerical strength versus subgroup distinctiveness in minority groups

By Andrew George Livingstone, Russell Spears, Antony Stephen Reid Manstead and Martin Bruder

Abstract

Evidence attests to the efforts made by minority groups to defend and promote ‘distinctive’ attributes that potentially define the ingroup. However, these attributes are often only available to a prototypical minority within the minority category. In two studies we tested the hypothesis that, under certain conditions, large projected increases in the numerical strength of a ‘distinctive’ attribute (emotional intelligence in Study 1; ingroup language in Study 2) within a minority category can paradoxically evoke less-than-positive reactions from those who already have the attribute. Findings confirmed that while a large projected increase in the numerical strength of a ‘distinctive’ attribute was viewed positively when the comparative context focused on the inter-category relation with a majority outgroup, this increase was viewed less positively, and as undermining their own identity, in a narrower intra-category context. Implications for identity management strategies in minority groups are discussed

Topics: BF Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.jesp.2011.03.012
OAI identifier: oai:http://orca.cf.ac.uk:30317
Provided by: ORCA
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