What Have They Done for Us Lately? The Dynamics of Reciprocity in Intergroup Contexts1


  • 1

    This research was funded by a postdoctoral grant from NWO (the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research) to Bertjan Doosje. The authors thank Edwin van Gorp from the International Eurovision Song Contest Fan Club (OGAE) in The Netherlands for making available the archival Eurovision Song Contest data used in the second study. We also thank Willem Koomen, Kate Reynolds, and Krystyna Rojahn for their helpful comments on the analyses of the second study; and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier version of the paper.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Bertjan Doosje, Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 15, NL-1018 WB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: doosje@uva.nl


Two studies examined the dynamics of social judgments in natural intergroup contexts. In Study 1, the manipulated positivity of an out-group's stereotype of participants’ national in-group was reciprocated, particularly when the out-group shared the in-group's negative stereotype of a third national group. Study 2 investigated the extent to which reciprocal judgments are observed in a large real-life intergroup context by analyzing data from the Eurovision Song Contest. In this festival, juries from different European countries award points to singers from the various other countries taking part. Here it was observed that (a) nations received more points from countries to which they had given a considerable number of points during the previous 5 years, and (b) nations gave more points to countries from which they had received a large numbers of points over the preceding 5 years. This last pattern was more pronounced for countries with a high collectivistic orientation and for countries low in economic power. The studies point to the theoretical and practical importance of the dynamics of reciprocity in applied intergroup settings.