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The benefits of collective responsibility: How ingroup reputation concern motivates prosociality in intergroup contexts

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European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract Collective responsibility processes have been investigated from the perspectives of the outgroup (e.g., collective blame) and the ingroup (e.g., collective guilt). This article extends theory and research on collective responsibility with a third perspective, namely that of the individual actor whose behavior triggers the attribution of collective blame. Four experiments (n = 78, 118, 208 and 77, respectively) tested the hypotheses that collective responsibility processes influence the individual actors' appraisals, emotions and behavior. The possibility of collective blame for their individual action prompted more prosocial behavior among participants (Experiment 1). Participants also experienced more ingroup reputation concern and in turn more negative emotions (Experiment 2–4) for a past wrongdoing if it could reflect negatively on the ingroup in the eyes of outgroups. The increased negative emotions then motivated participants to improve the ingroup's image (Experiment 4). The effects were moderated by perceived ingroup entitativity, in that activating collective blame increased ingroup reputation concern and negative emotions only for ingroups perceived as highly entitative (Experiment 3). - European Journal of Social Psychology, EarlyView.