Examining the role of cognitive dissonance in intergroup tolerance.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Several interethnic ideologies (e.g., assimilation, colourblindness, and multiculturalism) have attempted to improve intergroup relations, yet intergroup tensions exists. The present study was designed to explore the psychological processes behind a relatively understudied concept – intergroup tolerance. Using the theoretical assumptions of the action-based model of cognitive dissonance, I explore the nature of intergroup tolerance for attitudes toward Muslims. Participants were asked to practice intergroup tolerance toward Muslims, which theoretically should elicit cognitive discrepancy (as measured by electroencephalography) and, in turn, facilitate dissonance reduction (as measured by change in attitudes toward Muslim). I hypothesised that intergroup tolerance and its outcomes should change depend upon participants’ internal (IMS) vs. external (EMS) motivation to control prejudice. Contradictory to our prediction, after practice tolerance, participants with low IMS showed sign of dissonance reduction and more negative attitude toward Muslims compared to participants in the control condition. Participants with high IMS showed no difference in cognitive conflict or Muslim attitudes, while EMS did not have any interactive effect on the relationship between tolerance and cognitive conflict or Muslim attitudes.