Generalized or Origin-Specific Out-Group Prejudice? The Role of Temporary and Chronic Pathogen-Avoidance Motivation in Intergroup Relations

Tingting Ji*, Joshua M. Tybur, Mark van Vugt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Researchers have proposed that intergroup prejudice is partially caused by behavioral immune system mechanisms. Across four studies (total N = 1,849), we used both experimental (pathogen priming) and individual differences (pathogen disgust sensitivity [PDS]) approaches to test whether the behavioral immune system influences prejudice toward immigrants indiscriminately (the generalized out-group prejudice hypothesis) or specifically toward immigrants from a pathogen-rich ecology (the origin-specific out-group prejudice hypothesis). Internal meta-analyses lend some support to both hypotheses. At the experimental level, pathogen primes had no effect on attitudes toward origin-unspecified immigrants or immigrants from a pathogen-rich ecology. At the individual differences level, PDS has a unique negative effect on comfort with immigrants from pathogen-rich ecologies but not on comfort with immigrants from unspecified ecologies. However, pathogen disgust sensitivity was negatively related to the decision to allow entry to both origin-unspecified immigrants and immigrants from a pathogen-rich ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEvolutionary Psychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

First published online: February 10, 2019

Keywords

  • behavioral immune system
  • immigrants
  • internal meta-analyses
  • out-group prejudice
  • pathogen disgust sensitivity

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