If not me then we: Goal tradeoffs in decision-making for the self, ingroup, and outgroup


Navigating the social world requires individuals to balance multiple goals, including the drives to improve one’s own outcomes, aid ingroup members, and help or hurt outgroup members. While self-interest and intergroup bias are both well-established motivational phenomena, less is known about how these goals may interact. Here we examine the nature of goal tradeoffs in intergroup decision-making using a novel task in which participants simultaneously make monetary decisions for themselves, an arbitrary ingroup, and the corresponding outgroup. Across four behavioural studies and one eye-tracking study (total N = 704), we find that goals in intergroup contexts are pursued sequentially rather than concurrently, with non-linear upweighting of group-related goals when self-related goals cannot be pursued. Further, we find evidence for stronger self-ingroup than self-outgroup tradeoffs, which manifest in both altered attention to information and altered use of the attended information in decision-making. The results shed light on the cognitive structuring of interrelated goals in intergroup decision- making, furthering our understanding of when and how both intergroup biases and prosocial behaviour may emerge.

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Suraiya Allidina
Suraiya Allidina
Post-doctoral Scholar