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Tests of Social Dominance on Charitable Intent Towards Minorities

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posted on 08.12.2021, 13:28 by Bastion, Zacchaeus

This thesis investigates the hypothesis that the design of adverts for charitable causes may be unintentionally priming viewers in Social Dominance Orientation (SDO: Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, & Malle, 1994). Huang and Liu (2005) found evidence that presenting people with material that makes social hierarchies salient can temporarily increase a person's level of SDO. As many charities make differences in social hierarchy salient as part of their advertisement campaigns, it is possible that such advertisements may unintentionally prime the SDO of viewers. Given prior research that indicates that high SDO is correlated with antisocial attitudes (Sibley & Duckitt, 2010), such priming may be reducing the likelihood that viewers would donate towards the charitable cause. First, a pre-test was conducted to test the psychometric structure and reliability of the SDO7 (Ho, et al., in print) and the Counter Dominance Orientation measure (CDO: Pratto et al., 2012). Confirmatory factor analysis of each measure found a four-factor model of SDO and a two-factor model of CDO. Subsequently, 139 first-year students of psychology were used to test the previously-mentioned hypothesis. Participants were asked to critically evaluate one of two adverts for a student support service, with the one in the experimental condition being for a service for Māori and Pacifica students. The intent of this advert was to prime viewers on SDO. Afterwards, they engaged in a hypothetical public goods game where a portion of the money pool would go towards the service the advert was for. If the hypothesis was correct, participants who were primed on SDO would be less willing to contribute towards a cause that supported minorities, but the data did not support this. Implications and potential future research, both for the new measures and the hypothesis are explored.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Wilson, Marc