Two studies examined whether social explanations—causal frameworks used to make sense of a group’s status and behavior—are associated with prejudice-related compunction. In Study 1, based on Devine, Monteith, Zuwerink, & Elliott, (1991), participants who endorsed external explanations (e.g. low socioeconomic status of Blacks stems from historical maltreatment) showed a particularly strong tendency to experience compunction in response to prejudice-related discrepancies. Study 2 involved a novel paradigm. Participants were induced to admit that they would discriminate against Black males. Conceptually replicating Study 1, endorsement of external explanations was positively associated with compunction in response to this imagined discrimination. Across both studies, there was also evidence that the effects of external explanations are not explicable in terms of internal motivation to avoid prejudice, global prejudice, or global positive evaluation of African Americans. Discussion centers on the importance of explanations in shaping intergroup emotions and how the concept of explanation links the intergroup emotion literature to other emotion literatures.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael-andreychik/4/