Why are some persons more prejudiced than others? The role of social dominance, authoritarianism, and empathy.

Research output: Contribution to journalPublished meeting abstract

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  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-138
JournalAnnual Meeting
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
Event8th Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology - Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Duration: 2007 Jan 252007 Jan 27

Bibliographic note

This study concerned individual differences in generalized prejudice, i.e. the tendency to dislike outgroup members regardless of which particular group they belong to. Structural equation modeling analyses on questionnaire data from two separate samples (paper and pencil vs. Internet) showed that different kinds of prejudice (concerning sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, and impaired development) can be represented as a single generalized prejudice latent variable. However, the main contribution of the present research was not the replication of this earlier finding but rather the finding that empathy contributes to the prediction of generalized prejudice even when both Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) and Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) are part of the model. SDO, RWA, and empathy all had direct effects on generalized prejudice. As hypothesized, empathy was also negatively related to SDO, thereby affecting generalized prejudice indirectly. Not putting oneself into another person?s situation appears to be related to both anti-egalitarian views and plain prejudice. The effect of participant sex on generalized prejudice, where the men scored higher, was largely mediated by empathy. Substantial relationships between individual differences in empathy and generalized prejudice were identified in both of our samples, which differed in both mean age (older teenage vs. adult) and how the data was gathered (paper and pencil vs. web-based). This indicates that our findings are robust and suggests that empathy should be considered one of the main predictors of individual differences in prejudice.