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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Violent CRED s toward Out-Groups Increase Trustworthiness: Preliminary Experimental Evidence

Řezníček, D., & Kundt, R. (2020).
Journal of Cognition and Culture, 20(3-4), 262-281. 
doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685373-12340084


In the process of cultural learning, people tend to acquire mental representations and behavior from prestigious individuals over dominant ones, as prestigious individuals generously share their expertise and know-how to gain admiration, whereas dominant ones use violence, manipulation, and intimidation to enforce obedience. However, in the context of intergroup conflict, violent thoughts and behavior that are otherwise associated with dominance can hypothetically become prestigious because parochial altruists, who engage in violence against out-groups, act in the interest of their group members, therefore prosocially. This shift would imply that for other in-groups, individuals behaving violently toward out-groups during intergroup conflicts become simultaneously prestigious, making them desirable cultural models to learn from. Using the mechanism of credibility enhancing displays (CRED s), this article presents preliminary vignette-based evidence that violent CRED s toward out-groups during intergroup conflict increase the perceived trustworthiness of a violent cultural model.

From the Discussion section

We found support for hypotheses H1–3 regarding the seemingly paradoxical relationship between trustworthiness, prestige, dominance, and violence during an intergroup conflict (see Figures 1 and 2). Violent cultural model’s trustworthiness was positively predicted by CREDs and prestige, while it was negatively predicted by dominance. This suggests that in-groups violent toward out-groups during an intergroup conflict are not perceived as dominant manipulators who are better to be avoided and not learned from but rather as prestigious heroes who deserve to be venerated. Thus, it appears that a positive perception of violence toward out-groups, as modeled or tested by various researchers (Bowles, 2008; Castano & Leidner, 2012; Choi & Bowles, 2007;Cohen, Montoya, & Insko, 2006; Roccas, Klar, & Liviatan, 2006), is an eligible notion. Our study offers preliminary evidence for the suggestion that fighting violently for one’s group may increase the social status of fighters via prestige, not dominance.