Effects of intergroup ambivalence on information processing: the role of physiological arousal

Gregory R. Maio, Katy Greenland, Mark Bernard, Victoria M. Esses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research has found that people who are ambivalent toward a group process new information about the group more carefully than people who are nonambivalent toward the group. It has been suggested that this effect occurs because people who are ambivalent toward a group (a) experience a high level of physiological arousal when they think about the group and (b) seek to reduce this arousal by carefully processing new information about the group. To test these hypotheses, we conducted a correlational study (Study 1) and an experimental study (Study 2). Unexpectedly, Study 1 found that intergroup ambivalence is negatively correlated with the physiological arousal that is experienced when target outgroups are salient. Study 2 replicated this pattern and demonstrated an effect of intergroup ambivalence on information processing, while also discovering that the effects of ambivalence on arousal and on information processing were independent. Overall, these results indicate that arousal is not a necessary mediator of the relation between intergroup ambivalence and information processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-372
Number of pages18
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001

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