Shooting the messenger: Outsiders critical of your group are rejected regardless of argument quality Academic Article uri icon


  • People are more resistant to criticisms of their group when those criticisms are made by an outgroup rather than an ingroup member, a phenomenon referred to as the intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE). The current study compared four competing models of how argument quality would moderate the ISE, with a view to establishing the complex interrelationships between source and message effects in group-directed criticism. Quality of the argument affected responses to ingroup critics, but not to outgroup critics. For outsiders who wish to promote positive change and reform in a group culture, this leads to a somewhat depressing conclusion: their message is likely to be rejected regardless of whether it is objectively 'right', well-considered, well-justified, or well-argued.

publication date

  • June 2013