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The Dynamics of Intragroup Differentiation in an Intergroup Social Context


Scott A. Reid; e-mail:


Status hierarchies typically emerge when groups of strangers interact. Relatively little work tests explanations for this process in homogenous groups, and the majority has been conducted in intragroup settings. We test an expectation-states explanation in an intergroup context using the multilevel application of the actor–partner interdependence model. Participants (N= 48) discussed capital punishment in gender-homogenous 6-person groups containing 3 pro– and 3 anti–capital punishment adherents. The more speakers directed turns and proactive behavior at the outgroup than the ingroup, the higher they emerged in status. Further, high- but not low-status group members obtained more successful interruptions by being proactive, but more unsuccessful interruptions by being reactive. Socioemotional standing in the group was an inverted-U function of participation. Those higher on socioemotional standing also directed relatively less reactive behavior at the outgroup than the ingroup. The findings suggest that intragroup differentiation is subtly yet powerfully affected by status expectations and the intergroup context. Instructions for running these models in SAS and SPSS are appended.