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Keywords:

  • social dominance orientation;
  • group status;
  • gender;
  • ethnicity;
  • religion

Social dominance orientation (SDO) is a measure of general desire for group-based dominance. According to social dominance theory, the higher the status of one's group, the higher one's level of SDO should be. This study examined the extent to which between-group differences in SDO increase as the size of the perceived status gap between the groups increases. Data were collected in Israel, Northern Ireland, and the United States. In agreement with expectations, differences in SDO between arbitrary-set groups (e.g., ethnic and religious groups) were found to be greater when the status gap between the groups was perceived to be larger. In contrast, gender differences in SDO did not vary as a function of the size of the perceived status gap between men and women: Men had higher levels of SDO than women even when the gender status gap was perceived to be very small. These findings highlight the effects of perceived group status on SDO and the degree to which these effects vary depending on whether the salient group distinction is based on gender, ethnicity, or religion.