Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The purpose of the present study was to investigate potential solutions to the prevalence of unethical behavior in groups, specifically through the use of superordinate recategorization. Superordinate recategorization allows group members to feel an affinity with others not typically included in their in-group. This should promote ethical decision-making by enabling the inherent in-group favoring tendencies found in groups to be extended to a more inclusive category. In the context of the present study, the ethicality of participants' behavior in the Panalba scenario was determined by their choices on a 1 to 6 scale from least to most ethical. Additionally, participants’ Social Value Orientations (SVO) were measured to determine if the SVO composition of a group also influences the ethicality of group decisions.

Consistent with past research, it was predicted that groups would behave more unethically than individuals. It was also predicted that participants in the relevant superordinate prime condition would choose a more ethical decision compared to those in the irrelevant superordinate prime and no prime conditions. Additionally, it was predicted that groups with a greater proportion of pro-social group members would choose a more ethical option compared to groups with a smaller proportion. The findings reinforce the idea that groups tend to behave more unethically than individuals, as groups, on average, chose more unethical options compared to individuals. Furthermore, while the findings were non-significant, groups in the relevant superordinate prime condition made slightly more ethical decisions compared to those in the other prime conditions, suggesting a possible effect of recategorization.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.