Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Intergroup helping

What motivates people to provide help to, or seek help from other groups? And what are the psychological consequences of receiving help from another group?

My research on intergroup helping focuses on people’s general willingness to provide help to, or seek help from, members of groups that are different from their own group. Intergroup helping is inherently strategic in nature. Because the groups that we belong to are often important to us, we also care about how our group is seen by other groups. The act of helping is a perfect way to present your own group in a positive light, as helping is not only seen as kind and generous, but it can also demonstrate how competent you are in a given domain. Across a series of papers and one book chapter, I demonstrate that the desire to present the own group in a positive light is a powerful motive for helping other groups. I also identify a number of other strategic motives, such as the desire to provide meaning to the very existence of our group, the wish to signal to the recipient of help that it is valued and appreciated, or the need to control the recipient of help and assert one’s dominance. Please visit www.esthervanleeuwen.nl for more information about this research project an my collaborators.

Connection with other research

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