In-group favouritism and the reflection of realistic dimensions of difference between national states in Central and Eastern European nationality stereotypes


Department of General Social Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80140, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands (e-mail:


This study examines the content of European nationality stereotypes held by adolescents from six Central and Eastern European countries and in-group favouritism on the dimensions underlying these nationality stereotypes. It was found that the content of nationality stereotypes reflects a competence and a morality dimension, and that each dimension is related to perceived structural or relational features of nation states. The attribution of competence-related traits to out-group nationalities is strongly related to the perceived economic power of the nation states and the attribution of morality-related traits to the size of the nation states, as well as perceived conflicts of interests, nationalism and economic power. The participants did not blindly favour their in-group over all foreign nationalities on competence or morality. The tendency to perceive Western European nationalities as more competent than the in-group reflects a social reality constraint due to lower economic status. Furthermore, in-group favouritism on competence decreased as a function of the economic status and size of out-groups, while ingroup favouritism on morality increased as a function of economic status and size of out-groups. These results are interpreted in terms of self-categorization theory and social identity theory.