Intergroup Emotions: More than the Sum of the Parts

  • Russell Spears
  • Colin Leach
  • Martijn van Zomeren
  • Alexa Ispas
  • Joseph Sweetman
  • Nicole Tausch


In this chapter we make the case that recent research on intergroup emotions enriches both the intergroup relations and emotions domains in a way that is more than the sum of its parts. Focusing on research from our own lab’ we illustrate our argument with evidence for the heuristic value of a group emotions approach to prejudice and discrimination, and to social action and social change on the part of disadvantaged groups. In terms of prejudice and discrimination, a group emotion based analysis helps us to understand the specificity and also extreme forms that (emotional) prejudice can take. We focus on the particularly powerful combination of anger and fear, and the explicitly malicious emotion of intergroup schadenfreude. As well as helping to explain examples of negative intergroup behavior, group emotions can also help to explain social change resulting from group inequalities. We review work from a dual path model of collective action and social change that incorporates efficacy and emotions-focused coping routes to social change. Overall, there is strong evidence that group emotions are functional (if not always prosocial) in regulating behavior at the group level by validating shared experience in the group that becomes a launch-pad for action.


Benevolent Sexism Action Tendency Social Identity Theory Intergroup Relation High Status Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell Spears
    • 1
  • Colin Leach
  • Martijn van Zomeren
  • Alexa Ispas
  • Joseph Sweetman
  • Nicole Tausch
  1. 1.School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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