When common identities reduce between-group helping

E. van Leeuwen, A. Mashuri

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    Emphasizing a common group identity is often suggested as a way to promote between-group helping. But recently, researchers have identified a set of strategic motives for helping other groups, including the desire to present the own group as warm and generous. When the motive for helping is strategic, a salient common identity should reduce the willingness to help another group, because the help no longer communicates a quality of the ingroup (only of the common group). The authors tested this hypothesis in two experiments, in which they assessed beliefs about helping (Study 1) and actual helping through behavioral observation (Study 2). The results fully supported the predictions, demonstrating that a common identity is not a universal tool for the promotion of prosocial behavior. The studies also illustrate the strategic nature of between-group helping, in which acts that appear prosocial on the surface are in fact intended to enhance the ingroup's image. © The Author(s) 2012.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-265
    Number of pages7
    JournalSocial Psychological & Personality Science
    Issue number3
    Early online date1 Aug 2011
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


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