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Abstract

Civic engagement is an important part of the political process, yet many people are hesitant to take action even for initiatives of which they are supportive. Fear about how others may react to their involvement may play a large role in people’s hesitancy to engage. Supporting this we find that anticipated responses from one’s own ingroup matter more for members of the advantaged group (Study 1) and that the anticipated negative responses hindering likelihood are based on inaccurate assessments (Study 2). In Study 1, we found that anticipated reactions from one’s ingroup members was a significant predictor of likelihood for members of the advantaged group even when considered alongside other practical and psychological barriers to engagement. In Study 2, men overestimated how negatively other men would respond to their display of support for a women’s initiative, suggesting that men are not justified in fearing how other men will respond. Together, these findings offer valuable insight into the psychological barriers that prevent people from taking action.

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