You Can’t Root for Both Teams!: Convergent Evidence for the Unidirectionality of Group Loyalty

  • Daniel J. Kruger
  • Michele M. Day
  • Ailiya Duan
  • Anna M. Heyblom
  • Dora Juhasz
  • Stephanie L. Misevich
  • Camille V. Phaneuf
  • Claire M. Saunders
  • Peter A. Sonnega
  • Vibha Sreenivasa
Research Article


Four studies tested the existence of a social norm that one cannot simultaneously support two competing groups or teams. Our evolved coalitional psychology should be sensitive to individuals expressing mixed loyalties between rivals, as they represent substantial threats for defection. Study 1 manipulated confederate attire and demonstrated that public displays of mixed loyalty provoked more attention and reactions than displays of consistent loyalty (n = 1327). Informants (n = 31) in the same population interviewed for study 2 agreed with the norm and cited the norm violation as the cause of reactions. Study 3 provided a more systematic and comprehensive assessment of affective and cognitive reactions to mixed and matching loyalty displays with an on-line survey of participants (n = 325) in the respective states of the rival universities. Study 4 examined naturalistic reactions (n = 318) to social media advertisements suggesting mixed loyalty to the two rival teams featured in the first three studies. These diverse methodologies provided convergent confirmatory evidence for the proposed social norm.


Teams Intergroup perception Evolutionary psychology Loyalty Observational methods 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

40806_2018_178_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (242 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 242 kb)
40806_2018_178_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (84 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 84 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel J. Kruger
    • 1
  • Michele M. Day
    • 2
  • Ailiya Duan
    • 2
  • Anna M. Heyblom
    • 2
  • Dora Juhasz
    • 2
  • Stephanie L. Misevich
    • 2
  • Camille V. Phaneuf
    • 2
  • Claire M. Saunders
    • 2
  • Peter A. Sonnega
    • 2
  • Vibha Sreenivasa
    • 2
  1. 1.Population Studies CenterUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.College of Literature, Science, and the ArtsUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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