The positive–negative asymmetry in social discrimination proposes a threshold for ingroup favouritism within the negative domain: in contrast to comparable studies dealing with in- and outgroup evaluations on positive attributes, ingroup favouritism does not occur when negative attributes are used. The present study focuses on two aspects of this threshold: it investigates processes, which may influence the absence of ingroup favouritism in the negative domain, and it tests ‘aggravating’ variables, which seem to be suficient to elicit ingroup favouritism even in the negative domain.
Results show that ingroup favouritism occurred within the negative domain when several aggravating conditions were included, namely high salience of size- and status- similarity between groups and high ingroup identification. Furthermore, subjects under minimal conditions tended to overestimate relative size as well as relative status of their ingroup. The perception of group members to belong to a high status majority is interpreted as a sufficient condition counteracting tendencies towards ingroup favouritism within the negative domain.