23 Apr 2022


Ongoing Victim Suffering Increases Prejudice: Summary

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Academic level: College

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The article titled Ongoing Victim Suffering Increases Prejudice by Roland Imhoff and Rainer Banse investigates anti-Semitism and factors that lead to this phenomenon. A reader faces one of the first studies which aims to prove there is a correlation between Jews’ ongoing suffering and increase in the level of anti-Semitism. The researchers mention that a bogus pipeline is one of the conditions for the potential victims to respond sincerely to the research question. 

Purpose of the Study

The authors begin with discussing various anti-Semitism theories, in particular the never-ending resistance between Germans and Jews. The article starts with the claim that ‘‘The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz’’ (Buruma, 2003). Social-identity and system-justification theories are also highlighted to let the audience understand all potential causes of the growing anti-Semitism. Instead of evoking empathy, suffering of particular minorities leads to prejudice and blame. As there is not enough empirical evidence to state the problem, the authors conducted own research.

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In order to fill the gap in observing anti-Semitism moods, Imhoff and Banse applied qualitative method. In particular, they developed a questionnaire and asked 63 first-year psychology students to take part in this activity. Some of the questions were taken from the existing literature, while seven items were proposed by the authors. The observations included various aspects of life: from religious questions to the stereotypes regarding Jewish overall appearance. BPL manipulation was another method implemented in this study. With the help of some kind of “lie detector” the authors obtained more frank answers. On the whole, four experimental conditions were proposed for the participants. Random sampling was used to conduct the final stages of the research. Also, anti-Semitism measure was analyzed for the different intervals of time to see if the attitudes of the participants change.


So far, it was discovered that there is a strong correlation between the out-group suffering from previous atrocities and the growing beliefs against the out-group. In other words, because of the particular events in the past, people tend to perceive Jews in a hostile manner. Just as two authors thought, those who took part in this experiment demonstrated a rather negative attitude toward Jews to handle their ongoing suffering. But only when a false “lie detector” was involved, it was noticed that the activated “prejudice became apparent in an anti-Semitism questionnaire“(Imhoff and Banse, 2009:1446). Only further studies that will stimulate the participants to apply denial mechanisms can give more details.


Buruma, I. (2003, August 31). How to Talk about Israel . New York Times Magazine. 

Retrieved September 16, 2009, from http:// 

www.nytimes.com/2003/08/31/magazine/how-to-talk-about-israel. html

Imhoff, R., and Banse, R. (2009). Ongoing Victim Suffering Increases Prejudice. 

Association for Psychological Science, Volume 20—Number 12: 1443-1446.

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