Polarization of attitudes in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups



The present research involves both the relationship between norms and polarization-hence the utilization of the same experimental paradigm and the investigation of intergroup relations. The homogeneity-heterogeneity variable is determined by the composition of the discussion groups: all-male, all-female, and mixed groups. Confederates of both sexes, defending different normative positions were introduced in the groups. The polarization effect, confirmed in the homogeneous groups, does not appear following the discussion in the heterogeneous groups, but arises as soon as the subjects are confronted with one another. This variation is interpreted as a process of resolution of differences within the subjects's own group as well as in relation to the norms. The norms also determine the variations of influence of the confederates according to their sex and role. In short, in the discussion on male-female relations, more radicalism is expected of the women, and more traditionalism of the men.