A socio-functional approach to prejudice posits that different out-groups are perceived to pose different types of threats to group success by in-group members. These different types of threats include physical safety/security threats, economic threats, moral threats, etc. Within this framework, each type of threat elicits a different emotional response from in-group members. In the current pair of studies, we investigated the extent to which Arab Americans and Muslim Americans (Study 1), as well as deaf individuals and those with disabilities (Study 2) are attitudinally conflated into the same social category by measuring the emotional responses they elicit from participants, and subsequently, the type of threat they are perceived to pose to society. Results from indicate potential conflation between groups (i.e., Muslims and Arab Americans; Deaf individuals and individuals with disabilities). One reason why Americans may conflate outgroups could be because they have no intergroup contact. Individual difference characteristics such as social dominance orientation (SDO), right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and religious fundamentalism (RF) also appear to influence attitudes toward different types of threat groups. The influence of subtle attitudes and biases, such as ambivalent prejudice and positive stereotyping are considered. Overall, the goal of this research is to explore the different emotional reactions elicited by outgroups that are perceived to be representative of different types of threat. With this, we hope to gain a better understanding of the affective nature of prejudice and the individual differences that may help predict these specific attitudes.
Granger, Aeleah, "The Role of Threat, Emotion, and Individual Difference Characteristics in Attitudes and Perceptions of Minority Groups" (2017). Honors College. 305.