When novel rituals impact intergroup bias: Evidence from economic games and neurophysiology

43 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2016 Last revised: 27 Mar 2017

See all articles by Nicholas Hobson

Nicholas Hobson

University of Toronto

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit

Michael Inzlicht

University of Toronto

Date Written: September 6, 2016

Abstract

Long-established rituals in pre-existing cultural groups have been linked to the cultural evolution of group cooperation. Here we test the prediction that novel rituals – arbitrary hand and body gestures enacted in a stereotypical and repeated fashion – can impact intergroup bias in newly formed groups. In four studies, participants practiced novel rituals at home for one week (Experiments 1, 2, 4) or once in the lab (pre-registered Experiment 3), and were divided into minimal ingroups and outgroups. Our results offer mixed support for the hypothesis that novel rituals promote intergroup bias. A modest effect for daily repeated rituals but a null effect for rituals enacted only once suggests that novel rituals can inculcate bias, but only when certain features are present: rituals must be sufficiently elaborate and repeated to impact bias. Taken together, our results offer modest support for the influence of novel rituals on intergroup bias.

Keywords: Ritual; Intergroup Dynamics; Intergroup Bias; Cooperation; Neural Reward Processing

Suggested Citation

Hobson, Nicholas and Gino, Francesca and Norton, Michael I. and Inzlicht, Michael, When novel rituals impact intergroup bias: Evidence from economic games and neurophysiology (September 6, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2835548 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2835548

Nicholas Hobson (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

Psychology Department
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada
4168999218 (Phone)

Francesca Gino

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Michael I. Norton

Harvard Business School - Marketing Unit ( email )

Soldiers Field
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Michael Inzlicht

University of Toronto ( email )

Department of Psychology
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.michaelinzlicht.com

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