This research investigated whether people are biased against migrants partly because they find migrants more difficult to cognitively process than nonmigrants. In Study 1, 181 undergraduate students evaluated migrant and nonmigrant members of two minimal groups and reported the difficulty that they experienced in thinking about each type of target. Participants rated migrants less positively than nonmigrants, and difficulty ratings partially mediated this effect. Study 2 (N = 191) replicated these findings and demonstrated similar findings for individuals who had been excluded from minimal groups. This evidence implies that migrant bias can be explained partly in terms of the difficulty that people have in processing information about migrants, and that it is related to migrants’ exclusion from their original group.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology Vol. 46, Issue 1, p. 21-28