When threats foreign turn domestic: Two ways for distant realistic intergroup threats to carry over into local intolerance

Bouman, T., van Zomeren, M. & Otten, S., Sep-2015, In : British journal of social psychology. 54, 3, p. 581-600 20 p.

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  • When threats foreign turn domestic Two ways for distant realistic intergroup

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In times of economic downturn, perceived realistic intergroup threats (e.g., labour competition) often dominate political and media discourse. Although local outgroups (e.g., local immigrants) can be experienced as sources of realistic threats, we propose that such threats can also be perceived to be caused by distant outgroups (e.g., European Union members perceiving Greece to threaten their economies) and that such distant threats can carry over into local intolerance (e.g., increasing intolerance towards local immigrant groups). We predicted and found in two studies that perceived distant realistic threats carried over into local intolerance via two different pathways. First, direct reactions towards the distant outgroup can generalize to culturally similar local outgroups (the group‐based association pathway). Secondly, Study 2 indicated that when the distant threat was attributed to stereotypical outgroup traits (e.g., being lazy), distant realistic threats activated local realistic threats, which subsequently influenced local intolerance (the threat‐based association pathway). Taken together, our studies indicate that perceived realistic threats foreign can turn domestic, but in two different ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-600
Number of pages20
JournalBritish journal of social psychology
Issue number3
Early online date10-Dec-2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2015


  • Carry-over effect, intergroup threat, INTOLERANCE, realistic threats
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