Tuesday, 20th October 2020
14:00 - 15:00
Kicking Down: How Status Threat Shapes Exclusionary Attitudes Towards Disadvantaged Groups
(with Rob De Vries, University of Kent)
Threats to an individual’s social status, their perception of their value and standing in society, are believed by many scholars to drive hostility towards disadvantaged outgroups. Status threat is associated with negative attitudes towards immigrants, welfare recipients, and support for authoritarian nationalist parties. However, previous research is unable to distinguish the effect of status threat on attitudes and policy preferences from closely associated changes in economic position. As a result we propose an online laboratory experiment that aims to experimentally induce a status differential between participants, before measuring its’ impact on a range of attitudes towards low status outgroups. We will assign participants to low and high status groups on the basis of a misleading general knowledge test, designed to ensure that group assignment is uncorrelated with economic position and political attitudes. The status differential between groups will be reinforced by making the performance of each participant public, and through interaction between participants. We will then measure the impact of assignment to low vs high status groups on 1) endorsement of negative stereotypes 2) desired social distance from, and 3) support for policy measures designed to help members of low status outgroups.