Resistance to Group or Personal Insults in an Ingroup or Outgroup Context

Michael Harris Bond, Chung Kwok Venus
Published Online:
27 Sep 2007
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 26 Issue 1

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This experiment was designed to evaluate the effect of different types of insults in different social contexts on the victim's resistance to the attack. In a teaching exercise, which was purportedly measuring their intelligence, students were insulted for their incompetence by their teacher in various situations: when alone, in front of an ingroup member, or in front of an outgroup member. In half the cases this personal insult was augmented by one impugning the competence of the student's academic ingroup as well. Direct resistance showed a complex pattern of results, reflecting concerns about managing an impression of group loyalty and personal detachment. Measures of indirect resistance showed higher levels in the public, as opposed to the private contexts, and were conceptualised as reflecting esteem deflation. These results thus amplify and extend into the logic of a collectivist culture hypotheses (Felson, 1978) about aggression as impression management.

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