Construal level and ingroup bias

Sujin Lee, Eun Jung, Sukanlaya Sawang, Jessica Sung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


The causal relationship between mental construal level and ingroup bias remains elusive. This paper uncovers a boundary condition and a mechanism underlying the relationship. We predict and find support for our hypotheses in four experiments conducted in East Asian and Western cultures. Data showed that a high- (vs. low-) level construal activated state belongingness, but had no effect on state rejection, state self-esteem, positive emotion, or negative emotion in participants from Korea (Experiment 1) and Australia (Experiment 3). Moreover, a high- (vs. low-) level construal triggered greater ingroup bias for Koreans (Experiment 2) and Australians (Experiment 3) primed with a relational self, but not for those primed with an independent self. This construal level effect on ingroup bias was eliminated when belongingness was primed at both a high- and a low-level construal; instead, relationals under a low-level construal were more ingroup-biased when they were primed with a belongingness (vs. baseline) condition (Experiment 4). These findings highlight that the relational self is a boundary condition for the construal level-ingroup bias link; belongingness explains the relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication73rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Subtitle of host publicationCapitalism in Question
EditorsL. Toombs
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event73rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: Capitalism in Question - Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201313 Aug 2013
Conference number: 73


Conference73rd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Construal Level
  • Ingroup bias
  • Relational self
  • Belongingness
  • Social acceptance


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