Date of Award


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

William D. Crano

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jason T. Siegel

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Dominic Abrams

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2020 Mark J Rinella


Derogation, Deviant, Social Identity Motives

Subject Categories

Social Psychology


Subjective group dynamics theory posits that groups favorably evaluate normative members and derogate deviant members to restore or maintain the subjective validity of their group’s norms. Research supports this explanation; however, the pattern of evaluations differs depending on how deviants are defined. Some research has defined deviants as group members who violate generic, socially valued prescriptions (generic norm deviants), while other research has defined deviants as members who diverge from specific group defining norms (oppositional norm deviants). This dissertation proposes that two different social identity motives—self-esteem and uncertainty reduction—underlie the derogation of these different types of group deviants. Specifically, it was predicted that self-esteem is the primary motivation for the derogation of generic norm deviants, whereas, uncertainty reduction is the primary motive behind the derogation of oppositional norm deviants. Study 1 ( N = 212) primed workers from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to focus on either self-esteem or uncertainty reduction before having them evaluate two targets, one socially desirable and one socially undesirable, from either the ingroup or an outgroup. Study 2 ( N = 234) replicated the design of Study 1 but had MTurk workers evaluate three ingroup or outgroup targets who held varying positions (normative, antinorm, pronorm) on a group defining norm. Study 3 ( N = 385) crossed the different types of norms from the first two studies. Again, MTurk workers were primed to focus on either self-esteem or uncertainty reduction before they evaluated a single ingroup target who was portrayed as either desirable or undesirable, and as holding either a normative, antinorm, or pronorm position on a group relevant norm. The results were mixed across the three studies. Study 1 found some support for the prediction that participants would evaluate desirable ingroup members more positively, and undesirable ingroup members more negatively, when they were focused on self-esteem compared to uncertainty reduction. Study 2 showed that ingroup antinorm targets were evaluated more negatively than other ingroup targets, whereas outgroup antinorm targets were evaluated more positively than other outgroup targets. However, this effect did not differ as a result of the identity motive participants were primed with. Study 3 found that desirable antinorm targets were tolerated more by participants focused on the self-esteem motive than those focused on uncertainty reduction. Yet, no support was found for the prediction that undesirable normative members would be tolerated more by participants primed with uncertainty reduction than by those primed with self-esteem. These findings suggest that the derogation of generic norm deviants is primarily motivated by self-esteem concerns, and they provide further insight into the motivations underlying the derogation of ingroup deviants.