Outgroup members’ internal criticism promotes intergroup openness: The role of perceived risk

Melissa McDonald*, Samantha Brindley, Eran Halperin, Tamar Saguy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Research suggests that hearing an outgroup member voice internal criticism increases individuals’ openness to the outgroup's perspective. We replicate and extend these findings in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Israeli participants exposed to a Palestinian official voicing internal criticism reported more openness to the Palestinian narrative of the conflict, an effect that was mediated by an increase in participants’ perception that Palestinians are open-minded and a subsequent increase in their hope for more positive relations between the two groups. In our extension of these findings, we examined a complementary mechanism contributing to the effectiveness of the criticism manipulation, specifically the extent to which participants perceive that the Palestinian official took a risk voicing criticism of Palestinians. Positive messages from a hostile outgroup may be received with suspicion, but if they are articulated under great risk to the speaker, greater credibility may be granted. Across two studies, we demonstrate that the criticism conveys risk to the speaker and that this risk is predictive of the perceived credibility of the speaker, and participants’ subsequent openness to the outgroup's perspective.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)95-111
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The British Psychological Society


  • conflict
  • credibility
  • criticism
  • hope
  • intergroup bias
  • intergroup relations
  • intervention
  • openness
  • prejudice
  • risk


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