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The Moral Punishment Instinct$
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Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190609979

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190609979.001.0001

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Black Sheep versus In-Group Favoritism

Black Sheep versus In-Group Favoritism

(p.175) 7 Black Sheep versus In-Group Favoritism
The Moral Punishment Instinct

Jan-Willem van Prooijen

Oxford University Press

Sometimes people punish offenders from their own group more severely than offenders from a different group (the “black sheep effect”). At other times, however, people punish offenders from a different group more severely than offenders from their own group (the “in-group favorability effect”). Punishment regulates social groups in two complementary ways: (1) punishment stimulates and stabilizes cooperative within-group relations (within-group function); and (2) punishment protects the group from outside threats (between-group function). The chapter then examines the within-group function of punishment. “In-group morality” implies that group members enjoy more procedural protections from the group. Following an unambiguous offense that harms the group, however, in-group morality also implies that in-group offenders are punished more severely than out-group offenders. Betrayal of in-group norms is considered worse when committed by a fellow in-group member.

Keywords:   Black sheep effect, in-group favorability, racial bias in sentencing, parochialism, within-group function of punishment, between-group function of punishment, guilt certainty

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