Attribute Affinity: U.S. Natives’ Attitudes Toward Immigrants
We examine the extent to which relevant social identity traits shared between two individuals—what we term “attribute affinity”—can moderate out-group hostility. We argue that in-group affinity is a powerful force in shaping preferences over potential immigrants. We focus on two closely related, yet distinct, dimensions of identity: religion and religiosity. Using evidence from three surveys that included two embedded experiments, we show that sharing strength in religious practice can diminish strong aversion to immigrants of different religious affiliations. We find that, among highly religious U.S. natives, anti-Muslim bias is lower toward very religious Muslims, compared to non-religious Muslims. This attenuating effect of attribute affinity with respect to religiosity on anti-Muslim bias presents the strongest evidence supporting our argument.
KeywordsImmigration Public opinion Religion
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