The Politics of Affirmation Theory: When Group-Affirmation Leads to Greater Ingroup Bias

Gaven A. Ehrlich, Richard H. Gramzow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


It has been well established in the literature that affirming the individual self reduces the tendency to exhibit group-favoring biases. The limited research examining group-affirmation and bias, however, is inconclusive. We argue that group-affirmation can exacerbate group-serving biases in certain contexts, and in the current set of studies, we document this phenomenon directly. Unlike self-affirmation, group-affirmation led to greater ingroup-favoring evaluative judgments among political partisans (Experiment 1). This increase in evaluative bias following group-affirmation was moderated by political party identification and was not found among those who affirmed a non-political ingroup (Experiment 2). In addition, the mechanism underlying these findings is explored and interpreted within the theoretical frameworks of self-categorization theory and the multiple self-aspects model (Experiments 2 and 3). The broader implications of our findings for the understanding of social identity and affirmation theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1110-1122
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 14 2015


  • group-affirmation
  • ingroup bias
  • intergroup processes
  • self-affirmation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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