Social dominance-based threat reactions to immigrants in need of assistance



The present investigation examined how individuals higher in social dominance orientation (SDO) react to experimentally induced intergroup threat in terms of support for helping immigrants. Participants read editorials describing an incoming immigrant outgroup posing realistic threats (to tangible resources and well-being), symbolic threats (to values and traditions) or no threats. Participants higher in SDO exhibited greater resistance to helping immigrants upon exposure to realistic, symbolic, (Experiments 1 and 2), or combined realistic–symbolic (Experiment 2) intergroup threats, but not when the same immigrants posed no threats. In Experiment 2, SDO exerted indirect effects on modern prejudice through both heightened infra-humanization and intergroup anxiety, with modern prejudice itself predicting greater resistance and indifference to helping immigrants. Moderated mediation analyses revealed strongest SDO-infra-humanization relations under conditions of symbolic threat. Implications for prejudice-reduction interventions are considered. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.