Reactance, the self, and its group: When threats to freedom come from the ingroup versus the outgroup


Verena Graupmann, Department of Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Leopoldstr.13, 80802 Munich, Germany.



We investigated the assumption that independent versus interdependent self-construals yield different manifestations of psychological reactance in different group contexts. We expected collectivists (interdependent) to value the collective freedom of an ingroup more in face of an outgroup threat than individualists (independent) who should be protective of their individual freedom especially within an ingroup. In Study 1, we showed that collectivists (Taiwanese students) did not show reactance when a threat to their freedom of choice originated in the ingroup, but they did show reactance when it originated in an outgroup. In Study 2, Austrian students showed more reactance the more interdependent their self-construal was when confronted with an outgroup restriction. However, the more independent Austrian students' self-construal was, the more reactance they showed when the threat came from the ingroup. Priming an independent (versus interdependent) self-construal in Study 3, we again observed more reactance when freedom was restricted by the ingroup. The findings underline the importance of understanding psychological reactance as a socially situated phenomenon. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.