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Abstract

Two field studies examined the attributions made for the historically negative behaviour of a group as a whole, depending on whether the actions were committed by the ingroup or an outgroup. In the first study, Jewish people assigned more internal responsibility to Germans for their treatment of Jewish people during the Second World War than Germans assigned to their own group. In the second study, people attributed the negative historical actions of another nation more internally (and less externally) than similar negative historical actions committed by their own nation. This pattern of intergroup attributional bias was more pronounced among people who highly identified with their national ingroup. Outgroup homogeneity and perceptions of differences between the groups were also significantly predicted by ingroup identification. Links between social identity theory and the intergroup attribution bias are considered. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.