Nie Wieder: Group-Based Emotions for In-Group Wrongdoing Affect Attitudes toward Unrelated Minorities



This article focuses on the effects of group-based emotions for in-group wrongdoing on attitudes towards seemingly unrelated groups. Two forms of shame are distinguished from one another and from guilt and linked to positive and negative attitudes towards an unrelated minority. In Study 1 (N = 203), Germans' feelings of moral shame—arising from the belief that the in-group's Nazi past violates an important moral value—are associated with increased support for Turks living in Germany. Image shame—arising from a threatened social image—is associated with increased social distance. In Study 2 (N = 301), Britons' emotions regarding atrocities committed by in-group members during the war in Iraq have similar links with attitudes towards Pakistani immigrants. We extend the findings of Study 1 by demonstrating that the effects are mediated by a sense of moral obligation and observed more strongly when the unrelated group is perceived as similar to the harmed group. Guilt was unrelated to any outcome variable across both studies. Theoretical and practical implications about the nature of group-based emotions and their potential for affecting wider intergroup relations are discussed.