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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The group as a resource: Reducing biased attributions for group success and failure via group affirmation

  • Author(s): Sherman, DK
  • Kinias, Z
  • Major, B
  • Kim, HS
  • Prenovost, M
  • et al.

Self-affirmation theory proposes that people can respond to threats to the self by affirming alternative sources of self-integrity, resulting in greater openness to self-threatening information. The present research examines this at a group level by investigating whether a group affirmation (affirming an important group value) increases acceptance of threatening group information among sports teams and fans. In Study 1, athletes exhibited a group-serving attributional bias, which was eliminated by the group affirmation. In Study 2, the most highly identified fans exhibited the most bias in terms of their attributions, and this bias was eliminated by the group affirmation. These studies suggest that groups can serve as resources from which people can draw in response to threatening group events. © 2007 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

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