Project

Intra-sexual competition and immigration

Goal: To study whether negative attitudes towards immigrants can be explained in terms of the perceived increase in intra-sexual competition. The project also includes various studies on discrimination based on gender and ethnicity. Methods include large-scale surveys, lab experiments, and field experiments.

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Project log

Jan Antfolk
added a research item
Negative emotions affect the acceptance of out-groups. Here, we investigated whether modifying negative emotions would affect perceptions of out-groups. We experimentally manipulated the use of two emotion regulation strategies: suppression of emotional expression and cognitive reappraisal, the latter involving reframing a situation to mitigate its emotional impact. Using a population-based sample (N = 317), we conducted an online randomized controlled trial. Participants regulated their emotions while reading threatening news about out-groups. Not only reappraisal, but also suppression increased immediate acceptance of out-groups. The effect of reappraisal was partly mediated by decreased disgust, suggesting unique effects of reappraisal on this emotion. In the suppression condition acceptance decreased at high levels of habitual emotion regulation, whereas reappraisal showed an opposite tendency. Previous research may have underestimated the importance of different emotion regulation strategies on prejudice, and that relatively simple interventions can affect prejudice. The findings are of interest to prejudice prevention programs.
Jan Antfolk
added a research item
Difficulties in finding mates may have broad consequences for well-being. Previous studies often assume that only personal characteristics or competition limits mating success without considering the impact of the social context. We developed and evaluated a questionnaire for measuring context-dependent mate access by surveying 528 Finnish adults. We found support for our hypothesized two-factor structure divided into preferred encounters (i.e., the amount of interactions the individual has with potential mates) and perceived possibilities (i.e., the individual's perception of their mating opportunities). We also investigated the relationship between these factors and respondents' social context, negative affect regarding poor mate access, mate value, and sociosexual desire. Individuals in more sociable contexts reported higher mate access, and individuals with less perceived possibilities reported more negative affect. Theoretical associations with mate value and sociosexual desire were supported. The current scale can be used along existing measures to study human mating and its psycho-behavioral correlates.
Jan Antfolk
added a research item
Difficulties in finding mates may have broad consequences for well-being. Previous studies often assume that only personal characteristics or competition limit mating success without considering the impact of the social context. We developed and evaluated a questionnaire for measuring context-dependent mate access by surveying 528 Finnish adults. We found support for our hypothesized two-factor structure divided into preferred encounters and perceived possibilities. We also investigated the relationship between these factors and respondents’ social context, negative affect, mate value, and sociosexual desire. Individuals in more sociable contexts reported higher mate access, and individuals with less perceived possibilities reported more negative affect. Theoretical associations with mate value and sociosexual desire were supported. The current scale can be used along existing measures to study human mating and its psycho-behavioral correlates.
Jan Antfolk
added a research item
Discrimination in the housing market is associated with decreased social integration and is costly both at social and individual levels. Here we studied discrimination in English and Polish housing markets. In line with previous research, we expected ethnic- and gender-based discrimination to occur in both housing markets. Conducting a preregistered field experiment of discrimination in the housing market, we sent e-mails with inquiries about advertisements for 960 rentals in England and Poland. Inquiries were signed with Arabic, English, or Polish sounding male and female names. As a measure of discrimination, we calculated the proportion of answers that we received. In the English housing market there was no statistically significant difference between the proportions of responses received for inquiries signed with Arabic, English, or Polish male or female names. In the Polish housing market, we received fewer responses to inquiries signed with Arabic male names than inquiries signed with any other names. The study shows discrimination against Arabic men in the Polish housing market but there was no evidence of ethnic- or gender-based discrimination in the English housing market. The results are discussed against the subordinate male target hypothesis as well as the current social and political situations in both countries.
Jan Antfolk
added 2 research items
We proposed the hypothesis that immigration attitudes (IA) could be partly explained by intra-sexual competition (ISC), as immigration can increase mate competition, negatively affecting mate access for local individuals with low mate value. To test this, we presented participants with masculinized/feminized images of males and females. Each image was paired with a background description. Participants reported whether the depicted person should be permitted residence and whether participants would help the person integrate. We also measured participants’ mate value. Both men and women were more negative towards male than female immigrants. As expected, participants with lower mate value reported more negative IA, providing tentative support for the hypothesized association between ISC and IA. Because the manipulation of masculinity/femininity was only effective for female images, it remains unclear whether attractive (vs. less attractive) male immigrants elicit more negative IA.
Ethnic and gender discrimination in a variety of markets has been documented in several populations. We conducted an online field experiment to examine ethnic and gender discrimination in the private rental housing market in Finland. We sent 1459 inquiries regarding 800 apartments. We compared responses to standardized apartment inquiries including fictive Arabic-sounding, Finnish-sounding or Swedish-sounding female or male names. We found evidence of discrimination against Arabic-sounding names and male names. Inquiries including Arabic-sounding male names had the lowest probability of receiving a response, receiving a response to about 16% of the inquiries made, while Finnish-sounding female names received a response to 42% of the inquires. We did not find any evidence of the landlord's gender being associated with the discrimination pattern. The findings suggest that both ethnic and gender discrimination occur in the private rental housing market in Finland.
Jan Antfolk
added a project goal
To study whether negative attitudes towards immigrants can be explained in terms of the perceived increase in intra-sexual competition. The project also includes various studies on discrimination based on gender and ethnicity. Methods include large-scale surveys, lab experiments, and field experiments.