Are Multiple Minimal Outgroup Males Readily Associated with Threat?

  • Florian van Leeuwen Aarhus University
  • Tadeg Quillien University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Pascal Boyer Washington University in St. Louis
Keywords: perception threat minimal groups error management


Humans might have a propensity to associate a collective of multiple outgroup males with threat, even in the context of minimally defined groups. We tested this hypothesis using a fear-conditioning paradigm (Study 1) and a signal detection paradigm (Study 2). Results of Study 1 suggest that stimuli showing ingroup males are more easily associated with threat than stimuli showing outgroup males. Results of Study 2 suggest a bias to perceive single males (both ingroup and outgroup) as more threatening than multiple outgroup males. We discuss the contrast with results of previous studies.
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