Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Michael A. Hogg

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jason T. Siegel

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William D. Crano

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Amber M. Gaffney

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2022 Jeff V Ramdass


Identity, Moral, Moral deviance, Social identitty, Uncertainty

Subject Categories



A person who identifies with a group will gain many psychological benefits from their group identification. These benefits include reduced self-uncertainty (Hogg, 2007, 2021) and increased self-esteem (Tajfel & Turner, 1986; see also Abrams & Hogg, 1988). Group members define and adhere to group norms (Turner et al., 1987) to gain the psychological benefits derived from group identification. However, not all group norms are equal. Moral norms, or norms relating to the group’s morality, are used to help people view themselves as moral people via being moral group members (Ellemers et al., 2013). Moral norms are viewed differently from nonmoral group norms (Luttrell et al., 2016) and group members desire to view themselves and their groups as having high morality (Ellemers et al., 2013; Leach et al., 2007). Group members vary their evaluation of moral or nonmoral group deviants based on several relevant factors (Ramdass & Hogg, 2019; see also Marques et al., 2001; Marques et al., 1988). However, the presence of an ingroup deviant may threaten self-uncertainty or self-esteem. Furthermore, other group members’ response towards a moral ingroup deviant (Asch, 1951; Festinger, 1954; see also Ditrich et al., 2019; Ditrich et al., 2017) may influence a group member’s feelings of self-uncertainty or self-esteem. Inspired by relevant research on group members’ evaluations of moral and nonmoral group deviants, this dissertation investigated whether an ingroup deviant affected a group member’s level of self-uncertainty or self-esteem. Study 1 hypothesized that group members would feel greater self-uncertainty or less self-esteem when faced with a multi-time moral ingroup deviant compared to a one-time moral ingroup deviant. Study 2 hypothesized that group members would feel greater self-uncertainty and less self-esteem when their group members did not punish a moral ingroup deviant compared to when they did. Both studies hypothesized a three-way interaction: effects should be stronger for group members with high identity centrality and when the moral ingroup deviant had prior ingroup prototypicality. Study 1 (N = 266) had university students recruited via’s MTurk rate their identity centrality with their university before evaluating a moral ingroup deviant who committed one or three moral violations and who either had prior high or low group prototypicality. Group members did not differ in their self-uncertainty or self-esteem based on whether the moral ingroup deviant committed one or three morally deviant acts. However, participants with high identity centrality reported lower self-esteem when evaluating a multiple-time moral ingroup deviant with prior high prototypicality. Exploratory analyses using manipulation check ratings found a similar pattern for self-uncertainty. Study 2 (N = 297) followed a similar research design as Study 1. However, Study 2 found that identity centrality was the largest predictor of changes to self-uncertainty, self-esteem, and evaluations of a moral ingroup deviant or their group. Overall, group members with high identity centrality may feel greater self-uncertainty or lower self-esteem in response to a moral ingroup deviant. However, group members overall self-uncertainty and self-esteem—and their evaluations of an ingroup deviant and their group—may depend on how central a group is to a group member.



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