Social dominance orientation and right wing authoritarianism as predictors of prejudice and discrimination against Muslims
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of social dominance orientation (SDO) and right wing authoritarianism (RWA) on discrimination in the face of a threat to either resources or in-group identity. SDO can be viewed as the attitudinal manifestation of realistic conflict theory (RTC) while RWA can be viewed as that of social identity theory (SIT). An online survey was administered to 631 college students assessing prejudice, SDO, and RWA. Emails were sent from a fictitious campus organization to 503 participants who agreed to be contacted for a subsequent study. The emails manipulated either a threat to resources by offering a scholarship or a threat to in-group identity by offering an invitation to join a culturally based campus club and were incorrectly addressed to a male target with either a Muslim or European-American name. It was made clear that if the email had been sent in error, it was necessary to return it to the source or the recipient would lose his chance to receive these opportunities. Return rates were recorded as a behavioral measure of discrimination. Overall, it was expected that more emails addressed to the European American target would be returned than emails addressed to the Muslim target (H1). Based on RCT, it was also expected that in the face of a threat to resources (scholarship offer) participants high in SDO would be less likely to return emails addressed to the Muslim target than participants high in RWA (H2). Finally, based on SIT, it was expected that in the face of a threat to in-group identity (membership invitation), participants high in RWA would be less likely to return emails addressed to the Muslim target than participants high in SDO (H3). In both instances interactions were anticipated between the target and the attitudinal measure (SDO or RWA). Although the results were not statistically significant for the hypotheses, marginally significant results were observed and some interesting trends were noted. Additionally, prejudice against Muslims was found to have significant effects on email return rates.