Prosocial Preferences Condition Decision Effort and Ingroup Biased Generosity in Intergroup Decision-Making

Rima-Maria Rahal, Susann Fiedler, Carsten K. W. De Dreu

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Ingroup favoritism and discrimination against outgroups are pervasive in social interactions. To uncover the cognitive processes underlying generosity towards in- and outgroup members, we employ eye-tracking in two pre registered studies. We replicate the well-established ingroup favoritism effect and uncover that ingroup compared to outgroup decision settings are characterized by systematic differences in information search effort (i.e., increased response times and number of fixations, more inspected information) and attention distribution. Surprisingly, these results showed a stronger dependency on the in- vs. out-group setting for more individualistic compared to prosocial participants: Whereas individualistic decision makers invested relatively less effort into information search when decisions involved out-group members, prosocial decision makers’ effort differed less between in- and outgroup decisions. Therein, choice and processing findings showed differences, indicating that inferences about the decision process from choices alone can be misleading. Implications for intergroup research and the regulation of intergroup conflict are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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