Shooting the messenger: Outsiders critical of your group are rejected regardless of argument quality

Authors


Correspondence should be addressed to Matthew Hornsey, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072, Queensland, Australia (e-mail: m.hornsey@uq.edu.au).

Abstract

People are more resistant to criticisms of their group when those criticisms are made by an outgroup rather than an ingroup member, a phenomenon referred to as the intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE). The current study compared four competing models of how argument quality would moderate the ISE, with a view to establishing the complex interrelationships between source and message effects in group-directed criticism. Quality of the argument affected responses to ingroup critics, but not to outgroup critics. For outsiders who wish to promote positive change and reform in a group culture, this leads to a somewhat depressing conclusion: their message is likely to be rejected regardless of whether it is objectively ‘right’, well-considered, well-justified, or well-argued.

Ancillary