Master Class on Media Effects and Priming with International Francqui Professor Shanto Iyengar location:Leuven date:7 May 2014
Even though the socio-cultural integration of immigrants has become increasingly more successful, the acceptance of immigrant minorities by the majority seems to be diminishing further. Why is this? The present research introduces new insights in explaining and specifying when, how, and why majority members react with prejudice towards minority members. Henceforth, we propose a model that aims to predict which threat(s) will dominate when, and that, in contrast to existing accounts, also incorporates threat at both the group and personal level, and investigates how they may combine and interact. We carried out two experiments to examine how symbolic and realistic threats affect majority members’ reactions towards immigrant minorities as a function cultural similarities and status. At first glance, our results seemed to support the dominant notion that immigration issues are fuelled by symbolic threat (Study 1), however, after taking personal status into account, we found that relatively high status majority members in particular are more affected, which is actually more consistent with a less known form of threat, namely realistic threat burden (Study 2). Henceforth, we discuss these results in the light of work on the meritocratic ideology and intercultural relations.