Words will never hurt me: the paradoxical effects of intergroup proselytizing on outgroup helping

Laura Smith, Catherine Philpot

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Objectives: Research suggests that voicing group opinions increases intergroup hostility. However, some groups use proselytizing as a technique to develop positive intergroup relationships. We conducted a 2-phase study to investigate the relationship between religious beliefs (Christian vs. non-religious), intergroup proselytizing, and norms for intergroup attitudes on helping an outgroup (Muslim) target.
Design: At Phase 1, participants completed a survey that measured beliefs and proselytizing. One week later, participants completed Phase 2. We manipulated the norm (Christian love vs. religious tolerance vs. control) using a subconscious priming technique. This 2-phase design enabled us to test the relationships between beliefs and proselytizing (both measured at Phase 1), and the effect of priming norms for intergroup attitudes on outgroup helping.
Methods:Participants (N=447) were recruited from Australia, Malaysia and the US. The sample included both Christian (n=356) and non-religious (atheists, agnostics, humanists; n=91) participants. Results were analysed with hierarchical regression.
Results: Non-religious and Christian participants reported proselytizing equally and were equally likely to offer help to a Muslim target. Proselytizing had a positive relationship with intergroup helping. However, we found a 2-way interaction between the norm prime and beliefs : Christian participants were more likely to offer help to a Muslim target when they were primed with the Christian love norm, and non-religious participants were more likely to offer help when they were primed with a religious tolerance norm.
Conclusions: Taken together, these findings suggest that intergroup proselytizing could be used more effectively than norm interventions as a tool for intergroup reconciliation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Programme
Pages18
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventBritish Psychological Society Social Section Annual Conference - Cambridge, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Sep 20118 Sep 2011

Conference

ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Social Section Annual Conference
CountryUK United Kingdom
CityCambridge
Period6/09/118/09/11

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