The intergroup sensitivity effect among racial groups in the United States

Katherine R.G. White, Jessica Bray, Jonathan C. Lang, Amilynne McLeroy, Scarlet Hernandez, Chloe McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE) refers to individuals responding more negatively to criticism directed toward their ingroup if the criticism is delivered by someone outside the group. The ISE has never been examined for groups defined by race. In light of ongoing racial tensions in America, the purpose of the current research was to examine whether the ISE replicates among racial groups. Study 1 replicated the ISE among African American, European American, and Latinx American university students and, unexpectedly, found that European American participants responded more positively to praise delivered by a racial outgroup member. Study 2 replicated these results in a nonstudent sample and identified motivation to respond without prejudice as a moderator of the praise effect. In both studies, the ISE was mediated by perceptions of comment legitimacy/constructiveness but was not moderated by feelings toward the outgroup. Future directions and explanations for the praise effect are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-379
Number of pages23
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • ISE
  • group criticism
  • intergroup sensitivity effect
  • race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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