Attribute Affinity: U.S. Natives’ Attitudes Toward Immigrants

  • Adam J. Berinsky
  • Tesalia Rizzo
  • Leah R. Rosenzweig
  • Elisha Heaps
Original Paper


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.


Immigration Public opinion Religion 

Supplementary material

11109_2018_9518_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (267 kb)
Electronic supplementary material 1 (PDF 267 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MITCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Study in ToulouseToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Rye BrookUSA

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