Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

3-2018

Publication Source

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Volume

44

Issue

3

Start Page

430

Last Page

448

DOI

10.1177/0146167217744197

Abstract

Collectively blaming groups for the actions of individuals can license vicarious retribution. Acts of terrorism by Muslim extremists against innocents, and the spikes in anti-Muslim hate crimes against innocent Muslims that follow, suggest that reciprocal bouts of collective blame can spark cycles of violence. How can this cycle be short-circuited? After establishing a link between collective blame of Muslims and anti-Muslim attitudes and behavior, we used an “interventions tournament” to identify a successful intervention (among many that failed). The “winning” intervention reduced collective blame of Muslims by highlighting hypocrisy in the ways individuals collectively blame Muslims—but not other groups (White Americans, Christians)—for individual group members’ actions. After replicating the effect in an independent sample, we demonstrate that a novel interactive activity that isolates the psychological mechanism amplifies the effectiveness of the collective blame hypocrisy intervention and results in downstream reductions in anti-Muslim attitudes and anti-Muslim behavior.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Keywords

collective blame, collective responsibility, vicarious retribution, prejudice, Islamophobia, intervention

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Date Posted: 15 June 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.