In-Group Love Versus Out-Group Hate: Which Is More Important to Partisans and When?

  • Karyn AmiraEmail author
  • Jennifer Cole Wright
  • Daniela Goya-Tocchetto
Original Paper


Recent evidence indicates that partisans discriminate against those from the opposing party. However, it is still unclear whether partisan out-group prejudice reveals a desire for out-group harm or in-group help. We investigate the conditions under which these tendencies arise. Using one observational survey and three survey experiments, we show that when given the chance to either harm the out-group or help the in-group, people tend to choose the latter. Yet while the tendency to help the in-group appears to be primary, we also show that under situations of symbolic threat to partisan identity, respondents shift gears and opt for harming the out-group as a strategy to defend the status of their political group identity. These results add to our understanding of how partisan identity and polarization works in non-elites.


Partisanship Affective polarization Symbolic threat Moral threat Survey experiment Intergroup hostility 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of College of Charleston IRB Board (Protocol Number with final addendum number: IRB-2016-06-01-085424-a-2017-09-30-121409) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Supplementary material

11109_2019_9557_MOESM1_ESM.docx (118 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 118 kb)
11109_2019_9557_MOESM2_ESM.docx (189 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 189 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Science DepartmentCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  3. 3.Management and OrganizationDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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