Beliefs About the Malleability of Immoral Groups Facilitate Collective Action

Smadar Cohen-Chen*, Eran Halperin, Tamar Saguy, Martijn van Zomeren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Although negative out-group beliefs typically foster individuals' motivation for collective action, we propose that such beliefs may diminish this motivation when people believe that this out-group cannot change in its very essence. Specifically, we tested the idea that believing in the malleability of immoral out-groups (i.e., targets of collective action) should increase collective action tendencies through group efficacy beliefs. Study 1 revealed that the more strongly participants believed that immoral out-groups could change as a function of contextual influences, the stronger their collective action tendencies were due to increased group efficacy. In Study 2, we experimentally replicated these findings using a manipulation of individuals' beliefs about immoral out-groups being potentially malleable (vs. fixed). We discuss implications of our findings with an eye on the literature on collective action and implicit beliefs and on the promotion of civic engagement more broadly.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was partially supported by VENI grant nr. 451-09-003 awarded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to the fourth author.


  • collective action
  • group efficacy
  • implicit theories
  • social change


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