Group-serving attributions across intergroup contexts: Cultural differences in the explanation of sex-typed behaviours

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Abstract

This research attempted to integrate Tajfel's (1978) social identity theory with self-presentational concerns by exploring attributions about perceived group differences in behaviour. As such, it dealt with group-level rather than individual-level attributions, exploring whether bias in making such verbal attributions varied as a function of the interviewer's group identity and the presence of an ingroup audience. Undergraduate men and women at The Chinese University of Hong Kong rated the appropriateness of ingroup-favouring and outgroup-favouring explanations for male-typed and female-typed behaviors in a face-to-face interview. A group-serving bias was found for female-typed behaviours, but only when the same-sex audience was absent. A conceptual replication of the experiment was run in the United States to examine the possible cultural basis for the Chinese moderation of favouritism in the audience condition. The group-serving bias was more robust for the American undergraduates, extending across male- and female-typed behaviours and also across audience conditions, It was argued that these cultural differences in attributional bias appear to reflect the strength of the movement for women's liberation and norms surrounding the avoidance of conflict in the United States and Hong Kong.

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