When Do Low Status Groups Help High Status Groups? The Moderating Effects of Ingroup Identification, Audience Group Membership, and Perceived Reputational Benefit


  • Chuma Kevin Owuamalam
  • Mark Rubin


Previous research has demonstrated that, when negative metastereotypes are made salient, members of low status groups help members of high status groups in order to improve the reputation of their low status group and its associated social identity. The present research investigated three potential moderators of low status groups’ outgroup helping: ingroup identification, audience group membership, and perceived reputational benefit. In Study 1 (N = 112) we found that members of a low status group (Keele University students) were most likely to offer to help raise funds for a high status group (University of Birmingham students) when they were high identifiers who had considered a negative metastereotype and believed that their responses would be viewed by an outgroup member. In Study 2 (N = 100) we found a similar effect in an intergroup context that referred to psychology students (low status ingroup) and junior doctors (high status outgroup), showing that the effect was limited to people who perceived reputational benefit in helping the outgroup. The practical and social implications of these findings are discussed in relation to intergroup contact and international relations.