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9 - The counter-intuitive effect of relative gratification on intergroup attitudes: ecological validity, moderators and mediators

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

Michaël Dambrun
Affiliation:
Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, Université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand France
Serge Guimond
Affiliation:
Professor of Psychology Université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand France
Donald M. Taylor
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, McGill University Montreal, Québec Canada
Serge Guimond
Affiliation:
Université de Clermont-Ferrand II (Université Blaise Pascal), France
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Summary

After five decades of research revealing that relative deprivation (RD) is a central variable in the explanation of intergroup prejudice, recent research suggests that the opposite of RD, the relatively ignored relative gratification (RG), is also an important determinant of prejudice. This chapter summarizes both recent studies and current development in this line of research. After presenting several experiments that test the respective effects of both RD and RG on intergroup attitudes, we address the question of the ecological validity of the RG effect. By looking at South African data, we show that the effect of RG on prejudice is not merely a laboratory artefact, nor is it limited to the French intergroup context. Finally, in the last part, we focus more directly on the “understanding” dimension by testing both moderators and mediators of the RG effect.

Understanding intergroup conflict and the factors that contribute to stereotyping and prejudice is a fundamental problem that has attracted the attention of social psychologists for many years. This chapter examines a new theoretical perspective in the explanation of prejudice. This perspective suggests that Relative Gratification (RG), the complete opposite of Relative Deprivation (RD), is a powerful determinant of various forms of negative or hostile intergroup attitudes. In common with relative deprivation theory (Walker and Smith, 2002), social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1986), Equity Theory (Walster, Walster, and Berscheid 1978), and the five-stage model of intergroup relations (Taylor and McKirnan, 1984), this new perspective based on RG shares the assumption that social comparison processes are fundamental to an understanding of intergroup conflict (see Taylor and Moghaddam, 1994 for an overview of these theories).

Type
Chapter
Information
Social Comparison and Social Psychology
Understanding Cognition, Intergroup Relations, and Culture
, pp. 206 - 227
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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