Seeing and Treating the Out-group Like Family: Transference Effects in an Ethnic Context

Lukas Wolf, Johan Karremans, Gregory Maio

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Transference effects occur when our impressions are guided by our mental representations of significant others. For instance, if a target resembles an individual’s significant other, then that person’s feelings toward their significant other will be transferred onto the target. The present research examines whether transference effects emerge even when the target belongs to an ethnic out-group. In two experiments, participants received descriptions of in-group and out-group targets who partly resembled their own (or another’s) positive significant other. The findings showed that resemblance to one’s own significant other improves attitudes and behavior toward both in-group and ethnic out-group targets, as found across two nations and three different ethnic out-groups. The present research hence provides evidence of robust transference effects across ethnic group boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2020

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