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The Relationship of Attachment Patterns and Inter-group Bias, using Minimal Groups

  • Author(s): Light, Pauline Elizabeth
  • Advisor(s): Gilger, Jeff
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT

The Relationship of Adult Attachment Patterns and Inter-group Bias, using Minimal Groups

Pauline E. Light

PhD Psychological Sciences

University of California, Merced 2014

Dr. Jeff Gilger, Dissertation Committee Chair

The three studies in this dissertation explore the relationship of attachment patterns and inter-group bias using the minimal group paradigm. Participants were undergraduates from four main ethnic groups. Although not all analyses were significant across the three studies, the results did indicate that secure attachment does reduce inter-group bias in randomly created groups in the laboratory (minimal groups). To the author's knowledge, this is the first time that minimal groups have been used to investigate attachment patterns and inter-group bias.

In Study 1, securely attached participants and those with both high anxiety and high avoidance showed less intergroup bias towards their out-group in a Face Categorization Task. Securely attached subjects also showed more preference for their in-group. In Study 2, priming with the secure base of attachment was not effective. However, positive affect priming led to less negative reactions toward their out-groups in securely attached and anxiously attached subjects. All three studies showed a preference for the in-group and a stronger identification with the in-group. The strengths and limitations of all three studies are addressed.

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