American Political Ingroup Bias and the Above-Average Effect

17 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2012

See all articles by Kimmo Eriksson

Kimmo Eriksson

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution; Mälardalen University

Alexander Funcke

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 29, 2012

Abstract

The "above-average effect" is the phenomenon that most people judge themselves above average on desirable traits. Republican and Democrat participants completed a measure of the above-average effect for traits related to warmth and competence. In addition to self-ratings, they also rated how the average Republican and the average Democrat compare to the average American. Regardless of party affiliation, participants tended to rate their own warmth and competence clearly above average. Interestingly, this self-above-average effect was combined with an "ingroup-above-self effect", i.e., participants tended to rate the average affiliate of their own party even higher – a grace that was not extended to the other party, whose average member tended to be rated just on par with the average American. Although this ingroup bias was exhibited by both parties, its warmth-competence profile differed markedly between parties: whereas Republican ingroup bias focused on competence, Democrat ingroup bias focused on warmth. Our findings fit well within social identity theory and show that political ingroup bias is larger even than the famous above-average effect.

Keywords: above-average effect, self-enhancement, ingroup bias, political stereotypes

Suggested Citation

Eriksson, Kimmo and Funcke, Alexander, American Political Ingroup Bias and the Above-Average Effect (October 29, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2168264 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2168264

Kimmo Eriksson (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution ( email )

Stockholm, SE-106 91
Sweden

Mälardalen University ( email )

S-721 23 Vasteras
Sweden

Alexander Funcke

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
3477818303 (Phone)

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