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Abstract

The present research examined bystanders' reactions to uncivil behaviors. We tested a proposed mediator of the effect by which bystanders are more likely to exert social control over in-group compared to out-group members. Participants were asked to report their likely reaction if they were to witness a woman throwing a plastic bottle into a flowerbed. Participants reported that they were more likely to express their disapproval to the woman if she was an in-group rather than an out-group member. This effect was mediated by the moral emotions that participants expected the woman to feel if they were to intervene: Participants expected the woman to feel more embarrassment and shame when she was an in-group member, and this explained why they were more likely to exert social control toward an in-group member than an out-group member. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.