Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Intergroup; Emotions; Prediction; Accuracy
Individuals can often accurately perceive others’ emotions in a purely interpersonal context. However, when people identify with an important ingroup, they experience distinctive patterns of emotion [Smith, E. R., Seger, C. R., & Mackie, D. M. (2007). Can emotions be truly group-level? Evidence regarding four conceptual criteria. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 431–446].Thus, in three studies using a variety of meaningful groups, the authors examine how a salient distinction between groups might influence people’s ability to estimate the emotions of outgroup members. Participants demonstrated substantial though imperfect accuracy in estimating the emotions reported by outgroups.Specific biases affected their estimates, especially the overlap of perceived emotions of the outgroup with the ingroup’s own emotions. Furthermore, there was a general overprediction of outgroups’ negative emotions and underprediction of their positive emotions.Because of the importance of an outgroup’s emotions as potential causes of their behavior, accuracy and biases in group emotion estimation may be consequential for intergroup relations.