Date of Publication
Dr. Jennifer J. Ratcliff
Research on prejudice and discrimination suggests that many variables can impact behavior toward minorities. One such variable is the amount of power that a perceiver holds. For example, recent research has found that relative to those without power, individuals who have power tend to individuate others less (Fiske, 1993; Goodwin et al., 2000). Nevertheless, not all individuals in a position of power react in a manner that deindividuates marginalized individuals. For instance, Chen and her colleagues (Chen, Lee-Chai, & Bargh, 2001 ) found that when primed to feel powerful, communally oriented individuals responded in socially responsible ways, whereas exchange-oriented individuals acted in terms of their self-interests. Although this research shows that relationship orientation moderates the relationship between power and behavior toward less fortunate others, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are less well understood. This research sought to extend previous findings, uncovering the role an individual's relationship orientation, in conjunction with one of three levels of power, has on the tendency to categorize or individuate a marginalized individual . Preliminary findings suggest that individuals primed to feel powerless have a greater tendency to align themselves with the outgroup observed through their indication of a greater liking for African American speakers. Further, the greater an individual's communal relationship orientation, the less prejudiced they were toward African Americans. Future directions in the analyses and the importance of examining such variables are discussed.
Gravelin, Claire R., "The Impact of Power and Communal Relationship Orientation on the Perception of Outgroups" (2010). Senior Honors Theses. 49.