Social hierarchies and intergroup discrimination: The case of the intermediate status group

Authors

  • Dr Luca Caricati,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, University of Parma, Italy
      Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Luca Caricati, Department of Psychology, University of Parma, Borgo Carissimi, 10, 43100 Parma, Italy (e-mail: luca.caricati@unipr.it).
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nadia Monacelli

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Parma, Italy
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Luca Caricati, Department of Psychology, University of Parma, Borgo Carissimi, 10, 43100 Parma, Italy (e-mail: luca.caricati@unipr.it).

Abstract

The study of status differences between groups has been an important topic in intergroup relations research. In this work, status differences are typically operationalized in dyadic terms: i.e., high versus low status. Based on the social identity approach, we conducted a minimal group experiment to investigate intergroup behaviours in a three-group social hierarchy (high, intermediate, and low status; N =187). Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three groups and allocated resources in either limited or not limited resource conditions. Among others, results showed that participants in the intermediate status group were equally biased against both out-groups when resources were limited, while they were more biased against the high than the low status group when resources were unlimited. The results point to distinct psychological processes that operate in intermediate status groups.

Ancillary