When Beliefs Become Stronger than Norms: Paradoxical Expressions of Intergroup Prejudice

  • Annelyse PereiraEmail author


We start by analyzing how social psychology has approached the study of the influence of norms on attitudes and discriminatory behavior. Then, we emphasize the need for a greater interaction between current paradigms on normative social influence and other traditional areas in social psychology, mainly in the field of beliefs about the nature of social groups. We illustrate this interaction by presenting new data that demonstrates the moderating role of the beliefs about homosexuality on the influence of antiprejudice norms on homophobic prejudice. In times of social change, social norms on how to think about particular intergroup relations might change faster than beliefs about the nature of social groups or vice versa, which can produce contradictory or paradoxical effects on people’s expressions and enactment of prejudice. The homophobic prejudice is an example how the individual’s adaptive maneuvering within complex psychosocial constellations explains their more or less prejudiced responses better than single (e.g., cognitive) factor or single (positive distinctiveness) motive approaches.


Social norms Social beliefs Homophobia Positive distinctiveness Prejudice 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CIS-IULLisbonPortugal

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