“They Do Not Value What We Value”: Cultural Consistency and Dissimilarity in Distinctions between in- and out-Groups

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Hye Won KWON, University of Iowa, USA
Steven HITLIN, University of Iowa, USA
We often think that the reason we feel strong negative emotions toward out-group is because they have different views, perhaps even immoral ones. Humans seem to universally categorize as “us” and “them,” but little work examines the extent that perceived values play a crucial role in distinctions between in- and out-groups. Previous work often explores a targeted, single in/out group distinction (based on race/ethnicity or gender, for example), limiting our understanding about people’s perception about in- and out-groups in a more realistic setting where people have an array of groups at one time. Additionally we know little why and how people draw the boundary constructing positive feelings about valued in-groups against members of a certain group such as political opponents, homosexuals, or those who use different languages. Using cross-cultural survey data collected in the United States and South Korea, we offer a novel cross-cultural exploration using a wide range of possible in- and out-groups in two emblematic countries of the widely cited individualism vs. collectivism continuum. We find (a) people in two countries commonly select those with different political orientations and homosexuals as their least preferred out-groups, despite presumed cultural differences between the two countries. In addition, (b) both Americans and Koreans in our sample tend to think “we are nice people, but they (out-groups) are not,” as they see their out-groups are more self-interested while their in-groups care for others. This pattern is, however, intertwined with structural factors in complicated ways. We find (c) higher educated people in both countries use more internally consistent values to draw boundaries against out-groups; for the less educated, it appears that out-group discrimination is not necessarily linked to a coherent set of values but reflects an unarticulated general prejudice.