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We tested, in three studies, whether the generalization of contact effects from primary to secondary outgroups—the secondary transfer effect (STE)—occurs for collective action. The results supported a serial mediation model: contact with immigrants by advantaged group members (Italians: Study 1, N = 146, 121 females, Mage = 28.31 years; Study 3, N = 406, 239 females, Mage = 36.35; British people, Study 2, N = 160, 113 females, Mage = 32.31) was associated with lower perceived moral distance toward primary outgroups, which in turn was associated with more positive attitudes and greater collective action intentions toward primary outgroups, and lower perceived moral distance toward secondary outgroups. Lower perceived moral distance toward secondary outgroups and stronger collective action intentions toward the primary outgroup were associated with higher collective action intentions toward secondary outgroups (results were inconsistent for attitudes). We discuss the findings with a focus on how a consideration of perceived moral distance extends current theorizing, and the relevance of generalized prejudice for the STE.

Original publication




Journal article


European Journal of Social Psychology

Publication Date





450 - 470