Russell Spears

Russell Spears
University of Groningen | RUG · Department of Psychology

About

418
Publications
348,072
Reads
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33,477
Citations
Citations since 2016
63 Research Items
14432 Citations
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Publications

Publications (418)
Article
Full-text available
This study examined when the realistic threat of COVID-19 leads to prejudicial social distancing. American participants reported social distancing preferences from Chinese or Italian people (out-group target) after viewing increasing or decreasing COVID-19 case numbers (threat level) in China or Italy (threat relevance). On the Bogardus Social Dist...
Article
Full-text available
Why do poorer and less educated Asians trust their institutions of governance more than their richer and well educated counterparts, despite their disadvantaged position within society? System justification theory (SJT) assumes that this trust is driven by a system-level motivation that operates independently from social identity needs. In two nati...
Article
Full-text available
Why do voters seek to change the political landscape or to retain it? System justification theory (SJT) proposes that a separate system motive to preserve the existing order drives support for the status-quo, and that this motivation operates independently from personal and collective interests. But how does this explanation apply to recent populis...
Article
When choosing between political candidates of different educational levels, do voters show ingroup bias or base their vote choice on candidates’ perceived competence? We aim to investigate how (fictional) political candidates of different educational levels are evaluated and voted for, how this is affected by voters’ educational level, and the role...
Article
We propose that part of the problem in combatting prejudice lies in people's dynamic understandings of what prejudice is. To examine this, we asked participants to rate the degree to which they perceived specific group‐relevant attitudes as prejudice. In Study 1, White participants perceived the attitudes as more prejudiced when the attitudes were...
Preprint
A major theme in social psychological models of collective action is that a sense of shared social identity is a critical foundation for collective action. In this review, we suggest that for many minority groups, this foundational role of social identity can be double edged. This is because material disadvantage is also often coupled with the hist...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated women's anger expression in response to sexism. In three studies (Ns = 103, 317, and 241), we tested the predictions that women express less anger about sexism than they experience-the anger gap-and that the anger expressed by women is associated with instrumental concerns, specifically perceived costs and benefits of confronting se...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decades, the education system has gradually grown into a central and universal institution of society, the impact of which plays a primary role in economic and social stratification. This stratification, and the way this inequality is legitimated, contains serious moral judgements that favor the higher educated over the less educated....
Article
Full-text available
In spite of their subtle nature, subliminal cues of group devaluation can have profound effects on members of targeted groups. Across three studies, we examine factors that allow people to counteract subliminal cues of group devaluation. We do this in the context of Spanish–German intergroup relations following the 2008 financial crisis. Throughout...
Article
Full-text available
The present research examined the role of social norms as a determining source of ingroup favoritism in minimal groups. Across three studies (total N = 814), results showed that ingroup favoritism was reduced when participants imagined the reaction of an external (and egalitarian) entity, as compared to a control condition or a condition in which t...
Article
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Although anti-immigrant attitudes continue to be expressed around the world, identifying these attitudes as prejudice, truth or free speech remains contested. This contestation occurs, in part, because of the absence of consensually agreed-upon understandings of what prejudice is. In this context, the current study sought to answer the question, “w...
Article
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Why do women support social and economic arrangements that disadvantage them? System justification theory (SJT) proposes that an autonomous system-level motive is responsible for this tendency, beyond any group-interested considerations (e.g. hope of future group advancement). The social identity model of system attitudes (SIMSA) disputes the exist...
Preprint
Full-text available
Why do women hold system-justifying attitudes? System justification theory (SJT) proposes that a system justification motivation is responsible for this tendency. The social identity model of system attitudes (SIMSA) disputes the existence of a unique system justification motive and instead argues that such attitudes amongst the disadvantaged are r...
Article
Full-text available
The relationships between subjective status and perceived legitimacy are important for understanding the extent to which people with low status are complicit in their oppression. We use novel data from 66 samples and 30 countries (N = 12,788) and find that people with higher status see the social system as more legitimate than those with lower stat...
Article
For feminists, a core goal is to promote the interests of women as a group. Across three studies, we examined whether the pursuit of such goals can lead feminists to use more divergent thinking styles. We measured identification with feminists, identification with women, and manipulated the extent to which a divergent thinking task was congruent wi...
Article
When thwarted goals increase endorsement of violence, it may not always reflect antisocial tendencies or some breakdown of self-regulation per se; such responses can also reflect an active process of self-regulation, whose purpose is to comply with the norms of one's social environment. In the present experiments (total N = 2,145), the causal link...
Article
Full-text available
To investigate the existence of an autonomous system justification motive that guides human behavior, we tested the dissonance-inspired strong system-justification thesis: that the cognitive effort expended to justify societal systems on which people depend, is greater amongst the disadvantaged than amongst the advantaged when their group identitie...
Article
The current article addresses bystander action to confront disparaging humor as a form of moral courage. We ask: When is disparaging humor seen as harmless fun or as a pernicious form of prejudice? What are the social and psychological processes through which bystanders confront, evade, or collaborate in disparaging humor? Three experiments (Ns = 9...
Preprint
To investigate the existence of an autonomous system justification motive that guides human behavior, we tested the dissonance-inspired strong system-justification thesis: that the cognitive effort expended to justify societal systems on which people depend, is greater amongst the disadvantaged than amongst the advantaged when their group identitie...
Conference Paper
Today, an increasing number of Muslim women identify themselves as both Muslim and feminist at the same time. However, Muslim and feminist identities are often seen incompatible by both Muslim and non-Muslim groups, and Muslim feminist women might hence experience conflict endorsing these identities. Accordingly, we were interested in examining the...
Article
Full-text available
The debate between the proponents of SIMSA and SJT does not pivot on whether system justification occurs – we all agree that system justification does occur. The issue is why it occurs? System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) assumes that system justification is motivated by a special system justification motive. In contrast, the soc...
Article
Full-text available
Work on collective action focuses mainly on the perspective of disadvantaged groups. However, the dynamics of social change cannot be fully understood without taking into account the reactions of the members of advantaged groups to collective action by low status groups. In 10 experiments conducted in four different intergroup contexts (N=1349), we...
Article
Full-text available
Do the disadvantaged have an autonomous system justification motivation that operates against their personal and group interests? System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) proposes that they do, and that this motivation helps to (a) reduce cognitive dissonance and associated uncertainties and (b) soothe the pain that is associated with...
Article
Classical and recent accounts of education posit that education legitimately, and authoritatively, classifies individuals to positions of lower or higher status. However, despite these general theoretical claims, empirical evidence that provides an in-depth picture of the relationship between educational attainment and social status remains scarce....
Article
Full-text available
We find evidence that explicit (but not implicit) measures of general attitude towards protest uniquely predict normative and nonnormative political action tendencies, and behavior, over and above extant models of political action. Protest attitude uniquely predicts both the political action tendencies of members of disadvantaged groups and willing...
Article
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When and how do social movements form to mobilize action across national boundaries? In the context of the 2015 movement to support Syrian refugees, we develop an integrative model of transnational social movement formation shaped by pre-existing world-views (SDO and RWA) and social media exposure to iconic events, resulting in an emergent group co...
Article
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An image of drowned Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi, was popularly shared through social media and this promoted a surge of solidarity with Syrian refugees in September 2015. However, this response was not sustained. We explore the role of social media engagement in the emergence of solidarity and its decline (compassion fade). We collected data when s...
Article
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Traditional roles are problematic for women because they constrain their life choices. Therefore, women have a vested interest in challenging them. We argue that women can resist pervasive traditional roles by showing automatic ingroup bias. In two studies we used an associative procedure to expose two groups of women to stereotypical vs. counter-s...
Article
Against the background of an ever‐growing body of literature that documents educational differentials in different forms of political participation, scholars have started to study whether education itself becomes the object of intergroup behavior. Informed by social identity theory and self‐categorization theory, we examine whether making education...
Preprint
Do the disadvantaged have an autonomous system justification motivation that operates against their personal and group interests? System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) proposes that they do, and that this motivation helps to (a) reduce cognitive dissonance and associated uncertainties and (b) soothe the pain that is associated with...
Article
Full-text available
In intergroup conflicts, expressed emotions influence how others see and react to those who express them. Here, we investigated whether this in turn implies that emotions may be expressed strategically. We tested whether emotion expression can differ from emotion experience, and whether emotion expression (more than emotion experience) is used to p...
Data
Study 1 moderation analyses. This file contains a summary of exploratory analyses of identification as a moderator. (DOCX)
Data
Study material. This file contains the exact wording of the study material. (DOCX)
Data
Additional measures. This file contains short descriptions and summaries of the results of additional measures. (DOCX)
Data
Study 1 and 2 descriptive statistics of additional emotions. (PDF)
Data
Study 2 scatterplots calling for support and all significant predictors. (PDF)
Data
Study 2 scatterplots out-group distancing and all significant predictors. (PDF)
Preprint
Is support for societal systems amongst the disadvantaged driven by an (un)conscious system justification motive that is independent from self-interests? System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) is unique in its affirmative answer to this question. SJT proposes (a) that support for societal systems operates in the service of maintaini...
Article
Full-text available
Is support for societal systems amongst the disadvantaged driven by an (un)conscious system justification motive that is independent from self-interests? System justification theory (SJT) is unique in its affirmative answer to this question. SJT proposes (a) that support for societal systems operates in the service of maintaining the status quo, (b...
Article
Full-text available
We examine women’s responses to subliminal gender stereotypes, that is, stereotypes present outside conscious awareness. Previous research suggests that subtle stereotypes elicit acceptance and assimilation, but we predict that subliminal exposure to gender stereotypes will trigger resistance in some women. Specifically, we expect resistance to occ...
Article
The present research investigates the normative roots of ingroup favoritism, reviving Tajfel's (1970) abandoned “generic norm” hypothesis according to which (1) most ingroups are perceived to promote ingroup favoritism and (2) people infer this normative prescription in newly assigned minimal groups. Anti-discrimination norms are also prevalent, bu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Stereotypes can help us rapidly identify the role of a person, notably when an actor is congruent with the role stereotype. However, encountering stereotypes can be threatening to some. To gain insights into the underlying cognitive and motivational processes, we measured brain activity (EEG) while presenting female participants images of actors in...
Article
Full-text available
System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) proposes that people have an inherent motive to support societal systems, even at the expense of their personal and group interests. However, the evidence for this system justification motive is mixed, and a close examination of the relevant propositions yields some important theoretical incons...
Article
Two studies investigate schadenfreude (pleasure at the misfortune of others) as an emotional response to news about out-group misfortunes in a political and consumer context by analyzing reactions of voters for opposition parties to the downfall of a Dutch coalition government (Study 1), and of BlackBerry-users to negative news reports about Apple’...
Article
Full-text available
Social psychology has studied ethnic, gender, age, national, and other social groups but has neglected education-based groups. This is surprising given the importance of education in predicting people's life outcomes and social attitudes. We study whether and why people evaluate education-based in-groups and out-groups differently. In contrast with...
Preprint
System justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994) proposes that people have an inherent motive to support societal systems, even at the expense of their personal and group interests. However, the evidence for this system justification motive is mixed, and a close examination of the relevant propositions yields some important theoretical incons...
Article
Full-text available
Across four studies, we examine multiple identities in the context of gender and propose that women's attitudes toward gender group membership are governed by two largely orthogonal dimensions of gender identity: identification with women and identification with feminists. We argue that identification with women reflects attitudes toward the conten...
Article
Full-text available
The recent global recession revealed a huge social-class divide between the economic outcomes of the affluent and their less endowed counterparts. Although this divide has bred social unrest in some societies, in many others such disturbances have been absent. Two mainstream theories of intergroup relations offer competing propositions for this par...
Chapter
The social identity model of deindividuation effects (SIDE model) and the research it has generated are outlined. This model arose in order to fill key theoretical lacunae in the literatures on crowd behavior and on the effects of computer-mediated communication (CMC). Early explanations of CMC, addressing differences between CMC and face-to-face c...
Article
In 2008, an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity came to an end, and the world was plunged into the Great Recession, a Global Financial Crisis (GFC)—the worst since the 1930s Great Depression. We examined whether it is low- or high-SES people that are most affected psychologically—and most likely to express concern about the future vitality o...
Article
How do individuals deal with group disadvantage when their fellow in-group members conceive it as legitimate? Integrating research on the normative conflict model (Packer, 2008, Pers. Soc. Psychol. Rev., 12, 50) and collective action, we expect high identifiers to reject the in-group norm of legitimacy that justifies the inequality, and to assert t...
Article
Full-text available
In a landmark 1994 publication in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Jost and Banaji proposed the existence of a novel, fundamental system justification motive that drives social behaviors. More specifically, they proposed (a) that people have an epistemic need to support social hierarchies and societal systems, (b) that this system justific...
Chapter
Full-text available
Social resistance is defined as a group’s opposition to economic, political, and social circumstances that perpetuate social disadvantage, or status differences within society. Social identity researchers (SIT; Tajfel & Turner, 1979), amongst others, have theorized about the psychological processes underlying social resistance ( Reicher, 2004 ; Spe...
Article
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We examine whether aggressive forms of collective action are predicted by their perceived efficacy and the perceived efficacy of peaceful collective action, and whether the two predictors interact. We present data from surveys examining support for and tendencies toward aggressive collective action among university students opposed to increases in...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that reactance to threats to individual freedom can be broadened to include threats to group identity and its associated values and norms. In two studies we primed women and men with (counter)stereotypical roles and measured implicit activation of reactance vs. acceptance goals, task persistence, and support for system justification beli...
Article
Strong social identity does not lead to lack of accountability and “bad” behavior in groups and crowds but rather causes group behavior to be driven by group norms. The solution to problematic group behavior is therefore not to individualize the group but rather to change group norms, as underlined by the relational dynamics widely studied in the S...
Article
In a landmark 1994 publication in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Jost and Banaji proposed the existence of a novel, fundamental system justification motive that drives social behaviors. More specifically, they proposed (a) that people have an epistemic need to support social hierarchies and societal systems, (b) that this system justific...
Article
In a landmark 1994 publication in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Jost and Banaji proposed the existence of a novel, fundamental system justification motive that drives social behaviors. More specifically, they proposed (a) that people have an epistemic need to support social hierarchies and societal systems, (b) that this system justific...
Article
We propose that reactance to threats to individual freedom can be broadened to include threats to group identity and its associated values and norms. In two studies we primed women and men with (counter) stereotypical roles and measured implicit activation of reactance versus acceptance goals, task persistence, and support for system justification...
Article
Radical action against social disadvantage is highly consequential but has been far less studied than moderate collective action. But who supports such extreme actions and why? In two studies, we examine the relation between group identification and support for radical action in disadvantaged groups. Paradoxically, low identifiers are more willing...
Article
Full-text available
Level of formal education is an important divide in contemporary societies; it is positively related to health, well-being, and social attitudes such as tolerance for minorities and interest in politics. We investigated whether education-based identification is a common underlying factor of these education effects. Indeed, education-based identific...
Article
We tested the hypothesis that shared emotions, notably anger, influence the formation of new self-categories. We first measured participants' (N = 89) emotional reactions to a proposal to make university assessment tougher before providing feedback about the reactions of eight other co-present individuals. This feedback always contained information...
Article
Full-text available
We offer the first empirical comparison of the pleasure in seeing (i.e., schadenfreude) and in causing (i.e., gloating) others' adversity. In Study 1, we asked participants to recall and report on an (individual or group) episode of pleasure that conformed to our formal definition of schadenfreude, gloating, pride, or joy, without reference to an e...
Article
We examined predictors of collective action among bystander group members in solidarity with a disadvantaged group by extending the dual pathway model of collective action, which proposes one efficacy-based and one emotion-based path to collective action (Van Zomeren, Spears, Fischer, & Leach, 2004). Based on two proposed functions of social identi...