Power and appeasement in intergroup discrimination


Psychology Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand


It is argued that the occurrence of outgroup discrimination always takes place in a social context where a certain type of intergroup power relation is present. The role of the power relation has seldom been examined. The present experiment (using 80 school boys between the age of 10 and 13) attempted to do this by comparing the extent of outgroup discrimination between a secure and an insecure power condition. It was hypothesized and found that discrimination was significantly greater in the former condition. A second prediction was also made that when the subjects in either the secure or the insecure power condition were provided with the means of appeasing the outgroups, this would have the effect of accentuating outgroup discrimination. The second prediction was contradicted.