Based on both classical and contemporary perspectives on the psychology of legitimacy, it was hypothesized that the pattern of relationships between social dominance orientation (SDO) and favoritism for high-status groups would depend on the status of one's group and the perceived legitimacy of the group-based status distinction. Among members of high-status groups, SDO was expected to be positively related to favoritism for the high-status group at both high and low levels of legitimacy. Among members of low-status groups, SDO and high-status group favoritism were only expected to be positively related when the system was perceived to be legitimate. The results of two studies provided a clear pattern of support for these expectations. Implications for social dominance theory and other perspectives on the psychology of legitimacy are discussed.
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