Majority Support for Minority Out-Groups: The Roles of Compassion and Guilt

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of compassion and guilt on support for and avoidance of an out-group program. Participants were 98 heterosexuals who were given 3 different sets of perspective-taking instructions: other-focused, self-focused, and detachment. Next, they watched a video of a bogus interview with a gay university student who described being physically assaulted because of his sexuality. It was hypothesized that other-focused instructions would elicit stronger support for a gay and lesbian anti-violence program than the other 2 conditions. This hypothesis was supported for willingness to volunteer for the program, but not for funds allocated to the program. Self-focused instructions were associated with program avoidance. Implications of the results are discussed.

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