Collective victimization can lead to competitiveness and reduced willingness to act on behalf of other victimized groups, but in some cases increases prosocial responses. We propose the concept of victim category accessibility (VCA) as one explanation for different reactions to victimization. Assuming that ‘victims’ is one among many categories into which individuals classify themselves and others, high VCA should increase the common categorization of ingroup and outgroup members as victims and increase prosocial responses towards victimized outgroups. Conversely, low VCA should increase the difficulty of identifying commonalities between ingroup and outgroup victims and reduce prosocial responses. In three studies, we develop a novel measure of VCA based on the Indirect Category Accessibility Task and demonstrate its association with willingness to act on behalf of victimized outgroups, but not ingroup members, beyond self-reported beliefs about victimization. The findings suggest a key role for VCA in understanding prosocial responses towards victimized outgroups.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was funded by Israeli Science Foundation (ISF) grant #510/16 to the first author. We are grateful to Baruch Eitam for his contribution to conceiving this research in its early stages.
© 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology