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Magraw-Mickelson, Zoe ORCID: 0000-0002-2951-0501; Süssenbach, Philipp; Gollwitzer, Mario ORCID: 0000-0003-4310-4793 (23. December 2021): The virus of distrust: How one victim-sensitive group member can affect the entire group's outcomes. In: European Journal of Social Psychology [Forthcoming]
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Abstract

Victim sensitivity (VS) is a personality trait conceptualized as the expectation of being exploited by others. Previous research has shown that one highly victim-sensitive group member can negatively impact the entire group's outcomes. In the present research, we investigate boundary conditions and mechanisms underlying this effect. Study 1 (N = 134 individuals, 40 groups) shows that the VS score of the most victim-sensitive group member negatively predicts a group's performance, particularly when the group's collective conscientiousness is high. Study 2 (N = 135 individuals, 45 groups) shows that groups that include one (compared to no) victim-sensitive group member perform worse, especially when the task is perceived as requiring mutual trust. Study 3 (N = 234) confirms that expressing VS explicitly reduces cooperation within the group. These findings suggest that the virus of distrust can spread quickly and may have detrimental consequences on group performance and intragroup cooperation.