When transgressions are committed by a group, those highly identified with the group are often least likely to recognize the transgressions, feel collective guilt, and engage in action to address them. We hypothesized that especially among high identifiers, demonstrating that in-group transgressions threaten the group’s image can induce normative conflict and thus collective guilt and action. In the first study, we demonstrate that high (vs. low) image threat increases normative conflict among high identifiers. In Study 2, we show that inducing normative conflict through image threat leads to increased collective guilt and collective action among high identifiers. In Study 3, we replicate this effect with the addition of a control condition to demonstrate increased normative conflict and collective guilt relative to both a low threat and baseline conditions. In Study 4, we again replicate these effects with a modified manipulation that more precisely manipulated image threat. Together, these studies indicate that image threat can be an effective motivator for high identifiers to address in-group transgressions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: During the writing of this article, the first author was supported by a Fulbright Student Fellowship through the U.S. Department of State and United States-Israel Educational Fund. This work was also supported by a European Research Council grant (335607) to the last author.
© 2018 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
- collective action
- collective guilt
- group identification
- image threat
- normative conflict