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In times of economic downturn, perceived realistic intergroup threats (e.g., labour competition) often dominate political and media discourse. Although local outgroups (e.g., local immigrants) can be experienced as sources of realistic threats, we propose that such threats can also be perceived to be caused by distant outgroups (e.g., European Union members perceiving Greece to threaten their economies) and that such distant threats can carry over into local intolerance (e.g., increasing intolerance towards local immigrant groups). We predicted and found in two studies that perceived distant realistic threats carried over into local intolerance via two different pathways. First, direct reactions towards the distant outgroup can generalize to culturally similar local outgroups (the group‐based association pathway). Secondly, Study 2 indicated that when the distant threat was attributed to stereotypical outgroup traits (e.g., being lazy), distant realistic threats activated local realistic threats, which subsequently influenced local intolerance (the threat‐based association pathway). Taken together, our studies indicate that perceived realistic threats foreign can turn domestic, but in two different ways.
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