Social explanations —causal frameworks used to understand group status and action—shape intergroup attitudes and emotions. Yet, different theoretical perspectives offer divergent predictions regarding associations between external explanations —which construe group actions or outcomes as being caused by forces outside of the group—and consequent attitudes toward outgroups. Specifically, whereas the authors’ social explanations framework suggests that external explanations regarding a low-status group will foster prosocial responses, other perspectives suggest that external explanations will foster defensive responses. Four studies using both implicit and explicit measures suggest that predictions from the social explanations framework capture the psychology of dominant group members weakly identified with the dominant ingroup, whereas predictions of defensiveness characterize the psychology of high-identifiers. A major implication is that social explanations do not have fixed meanings and that external explanations—despite being typically seen as prosocial—do not necessarily elicit positive responses to outgroups.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael-andreychik/2/