Allport (1954) recognized that attachment to one's ingroups does not necessarily require hostility toward outgroups. Yet the prevailing approach to the study of ethnocentrism, ingroup bias, and prejudice presumes that ingroup love and outgroup hate are reciprocally related. Findings from both cross-cultural research and laboratory experiments support the alternative view that ingroup identification is independent of negative attitudes toward outgroups and that much ingroup bias and intergroup discrimination is motivated by preferential treatment of ingroup members rather than direct hostility toward outgroup members. Thus to understand the roots of prejudice and discrimination requires first of all a better understanding of the functions that ingroup formation and identification serve for human beings. This article reviews research and theory on the motivations for maintenance of ingroup boundaries and the implications of ingroup boundary protection for intergroup relations, conflict, and conflict prevention.
Thisarticle is based on an address presented at the Gordon W. Allport Centennial Symposium on Prejudice and Intergroup Relations, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, October 31, 1997. Preparation of this article was supported by funding from National Science Foundation grant no. SBR 9514398.Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to MarilynnB. Brewer, Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, 1885 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210[e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org].