Prejudice in a simulated legal context: A further application of social identity theory



A substantial amount of research exploring the theoretical parameters of social identity theory has utilized artificially created ingroups and outgroups. This study aimed to examine the propositions of social identity theory between naturally existing groups (French and English Canadians) where the dependent measure was more consequential than typical ratings within this experimental paradigm. Subjects read a transcript of a rape trial which varied the ethnicity of the defendant and victim and were asked to rate the victim and defendant on 18 adjectives and then determine the defendant's guilt on a 7-point scale, while the results are not entirely consistent with the predictions emanating from social identity theory, we did find that French Canadian subjects rated the outgroup (English) defendant more guilty when the victim was from the ingroup (French) than when she was from the outgroup (English) as was anticipated.