We hypothesised that people would strategically alter their perceived intragroup variability on ingroup-threatening traits in order to maintain positive perceptions of their self and their ingroup. Specifically, we predicted that people would perceive (1) greater relative outgroup homogeneity and (2) greater general intragroup variability on ingroup negative and outgroup positive traits. We confirmed the outgroup homogeneity prediction in a minimal group experiment (N=80) and a gender group experiment (N = 164). In a second gender group experiment (N = 137), we found that ingroup size moderated this effect: only minority group members showed the predicted pattern of outgroup homogeneity. Evidence for the general intragroup variability prediction was less conclusive. We discuss the results in terms of variability strategies.
European Journal of Social Psychology Vol. 31, Issue 4, p. 413-429