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The role of warmth in the improvement of intergroup attitudes

Wolf, Lukas Jarmo 2015. The role of warmth in the improvement of intergroup attitudes. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This dissertation presents two research programs that investigated whether warmth can improve intergroup attitudes. The first research program included three studies that tested whether spontaneous racial attitudes are more positive toward children than adults. These studies were based on the assumption that children are perceived as being higher in trait warmth, which may improve attitudes by decreasing perceived threat and distance to the out-group. In contrast, the results showed that participants consistently preferred their racial in-group over the racial out-group, and there was no evidence that this spontaneous racial bias was reduced for very young child targets; spontaneous racial bias is strong even when warm groups are considered. The second research program comprised four studies that focused on explicitly measured intergroup attitudes. These studies examined whether individual differences in the need for affect (NFA) and (for completeness) the need for cognition (NFC) predict improved attitudes toward groups varying on stereotypical warmth and competence. These studies were based on the notion that people higher in NFA evaluate warmth more positively because they enjoy the emotionally stimulating aspect of warmth. The findings indicated that people higher in NFA evaluated stereotypically warm and incompetent groups more positively than stereotypically cold and competent groups, whereas people higher in NFC evaluated stereotypically cold and competent groups more positively than stereotypically warm and incompetent groups. Moreover, as expected, this set of studies also provided direct evidence that evaluations of warmth mediated these associations. Together, the two programs of research suggest that warmth may be one important mechanism for improving intergroup attitudes on an explicit measure, whereas more research is needed to examine when warmth can improve attitudes on an implicit measure.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:35

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