The role of geographical distance in perceptions of dissenters
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Dissent is a common feature of intragroup relations. The consequences of dissent, positive or negative, depend largely on group reactions to dissenters. The current study examined whether geographical distance as well as social dominance orientation (SDO) influence group responses toward a dissenter. I hypothesized that geographical distance would exacerbate negative reactions toward a group member who dissent from—rather than conform to—group norms. Further, I predicted levels of social dominance orientation would moderate group reactions. Findings were not consistent with our predictions; however, the current results did elucidate several interesting lines of future research. Specifically, the findings from the current study reveal that people were more likely to attribute blame to and perceive more harm done to the ingroup by a distal group member, regardless of whether he dissented or not. Further, those high in SDO, relative to low in SDO, were more likely to reprimand and perceive more harm done to the ingroup by a non-dissenting member when he was faraway compared to nearby. These results suggest that geographical distance, as well as individual differences, such as SDO, is important, albeit complex, factors in group reactions to dissenters.