A new Yale-led research has revealed that individuals belonging to a majority group tend to have negative views of members of minority group who reportedly holds more than one identity. According to the researchers, the negative bias is directly linked to the fear that the dual-identity group will be disloyal to the majority.
The study, featured in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, explains that the negative bias can be nullified when individuals from minority group demonstrate their loyalty to the opposite group.
With increase in number of immigrants across the globe, there has been clashes between individuals who prefer to retain the dual identities, such as ‘American & Arab’ and the dominant group who prefer assimilation.
The researchers from Yale conducted about five experimental studies, in order to evaluate the psychology behind the negative bias of majority group members against the ones with two identities.
In the first experiment, the research team recruited participants through an online platform and randomly assigned them to varying scenarios. While 50% of the participants were provided with information about ISIS-based terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California in 2015, others remained unaware about the attack. When the participants were asked to determine the loyalty of a fictitious immigrant bearing the name ‘Mohammed’, either identified as Arab and American or just American.
The research group discovered that participants felt notably less positively about the immigrant adopting two identities in comparison to those with common or single identity. According to the researchers, the negative bias was stronger for participants who were informed about the terrorist attack.
The new findings confirm the hypothesis of the researchers that dominant group members concerns regarding loyalty of smaller group are highly influenced by the preference of minority group of hold the dual identity as well as the perception of threat.
In the subsequent studies, the researchers used different scenarios and confirmed that the dominant group holds fear of ‘divided loyalties’ of the minority group. However, in one of the experiments, the research team found that the negative bias towards the dual-identities could be disrupted under certain conditions.
A combination of these insights offered insights underlying cognition of intergroup conflicts. First author Jonas Kunst said that it is a natural tendency for people to expect loyalty from newcomers as they value it and that shows across contexts. The understanding of these reasons will help in improving dynamics between groups and in the treatment of minorities and immigrants.