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Individuals are often confronted with intergroup threats, yet many of these threats emanate from distant groups that most individuals are unlikely to encounter in their local environment. An important yet unanswered question is whether reactions to those threats, such as intolerance towards the threatening group, carry over to other groups that individuals actually do encounter in their local environment (e. g., immigrants). The main goal of our studies was to experimentally identify this carry-over effect of intergroup threat. Specifically, we hypothesized that (by definition relatively abstract) symbolic threats (e. g., threats to the ingroup's worldview) have an especially strong carry-over potential because those threats can be easily attributed to other outgroups. We tested these predictions in one correlational and two experimental studies. The results of all three studies confirmed our hypothesis that particularly distant symbolic threats were predictive of intolerance towards local outgroups.
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