Group-level perspective-taking

This dissertation project investigates the effects of different perspective taking instructions on the willingness to compensate a victimized out-group for historical wrong-doings committed by the in-group. Specifically, we systematically compared the effects of perspective taking at the group level with perspective taking at the individual level (the standard procedure in the research literature) with regard to various outcomes (i.e., individual and group-based emotions, willingness to offer compensation). Early results suggest that participants in the group-level conditions displayed significantly higher willingness to collectively compensate the out-group than participants in a control group. Participants in the individual-level conditions, on the other hand, did not differ from the control group. Mediational analyses suggest that the increased willingness to compensate in the group-level condition was mediated by a significant increase in collective guilt. Additional studies had the objective to further decompose the effects of collective perspective taking and its mediating processes. The conceptually most important finding concerns a significant interaction of collective guilt with identity threat. Specifically, analyses suggest that perspective taking at the collective level may not only increase feelings of collective guilt, but also feelings of collective identity threat. Collective identity threat, in turn, may significantly reduce the effectiveness of collective guilt as a motivator of out-group compensation. In consequence, we explore ways to reduce identity threat without reducing the potentially beneficial effects of collective guilt on out-group compensation.