Get access

Societal Stereotypes and the Legitimation of Intergroup Behavior in Germany and New Zealand


  • Frank Asbrock and Chris Sibley contributed equally to this manuscript. The preparation of the manuscript was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft with a postdoctoral scholarship (GRK 884) to the first author.

Frank Asbrock, Philipps-University of Marburg, Department of Psychology, Gutenbergstr. 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany [e-mail:].


Stereotypes have a legitimizing function. Results from Germany (N = 71) and New Zealand (N = 103) indicated that the perceived permissibility of acting toward groups with active or passive harm versus facilitation depends upon consensually shared stereotypes of the target group. Our findings were generally consistent with predictions derived from the BIAS Map in both nations, as the permissibility of specific behaviors was reliably associated with target group warmth-competence stereotype combinations. However, evaluations of warmth trumped evaluations of the competence of target groups in the extent to which they legitimized perceptions of active and passive harm directed toward them. Finally, the extent to which warmth-competence stereotypes legitimized perceptions of the acceptability of harm and facilitation was unsystematically related to individual differences in Social Dominance Orientation. People high in Social Dominance Orientation, but not Right-Wing Authoritarianism, viewed harmful behaviors as generally more permissible irrespective of specific target group stereotypes, and this pattern held cross-culturally.