Controlled motivational orientation and prejudice: The mediating role of dehumanization
Michaelides, Michalis P.
SourceSwiss Journal of Psychology
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This research investigates the effect of controlled versus autonomous motivation on intergroup relations. Two studies were conducted: Study 1 (N = 152 Greek Cypriot undergraduate students) showed that controlled motivational orientation, measured as a personality variable, was related to more prejudicial beliefs toward outgroups, lower intrinsic motives for contact, less desire for contact, and less actual contact with outgroups. Study 2 (N = 93 Greek Cypriot undergraduate students) experimentally replicated the findings of Study 1, revealing that controlled motivation, manipulated as a social/situational variable, was related to a higher level of prejudice toward outgroups, less intrinsic motives for contact with outgroups, and less desire for contact with outgroups. Most importantly, these relationships were mediated by dehumanization (i.e., denial of uniquely human traits) of the outgroup. The findings highlight the role of interpersonal control as an important factor determining the quality of intergroup relations. © 2016 Hogrefe.