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A Double Standard When Group Members Behave Badly: Transgression Credit to Ingroup Leaders

Abrams, Dominic, Randsley de Moura, Georgina, Travaglino, Giovanni A. (2013) A Double Standard When Group Members Behave Badly: Transgression Credit to Ingroup Leaders. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, . ISSN 1939-1315. (doi:10.1037/a0033600) (KAR id:35166)


This research tested the hypothesis that people forgive serious transgressions by ingroup leaders but not by other group members or outgroup leaders. They apply a double standard in judgments of ingroup leaders. A series of studies (N = 623), using an array of different ingroups and outgroups, tested how group members judged ingroup or outgroup leaders and nonleaders who unexpectedly transgressed or did not transgress in important intergroup scenarios. Experiments 1, 2, and 4 focused on captains and players in either soccer or netball sports competitions. Across studies, transgressive captains of ingroup teams were evaluated more favorably than captains from outgroup teams and (Experiments 1, 2, and 4) more favorably than transgressive ingroup players. Experiment 3 demonstrated the double standard in a minimal group paradigm. Experiment 5 showed that the double standard is only applied if the leader is perceived as serving the group’s interest. Across studies, the double standard is evident in evaluations toward, inclusion and punishment of, and rewards to the transgressive targets. Implications for sport, politics, and business and intergroup conflict are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/a0033600
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Georgina Randsley de Moura
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2013 12:29 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:12 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Abrams, Dominic.

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Randsley de Moura, Georgina.

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Travaglino, Giovanni A..

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