Ethics Defined: In-group/Out-group

Ethics Defined: In-group/Out-group


In-group/Out-group An in-group is a group of people who identify
with each other based on a variety of factors including gender, race, religion, or geography. Our tendency to distinguish between in-group
and out-group members has moral implications. People may harm those whom they perceive to
be in an out-group in ways they would not harm in-group
members. For example, one study showed that when soccer
fans viewed fans of their own team being harmed, they felt empathy. But when they viewed fans of a rival team
being similarly harmed, they felt pleasure. Likewise, people tend to make different moral judgments based on in-group and out-group distinctions. When someone in our in-group misbehaves, the natural reaction is often to dismiss the behavior as no big deal. But when someone in our out-group does the same thing, we will tend to judge the behavior much more harshly. Indeed, when automatic in-group and out-group distinctions replace conscious and thoughtful reflection. we are more likely to harm one another and
behave unethically.

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