Psychological foundations of xenophilia: The role of major personality traits in predicting favorable attitudes toward cross-cultural contact and exploration

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  • Stefan Stürmer
  • Alison E.F. Benbow
  • Birte Siem
  • Markus Barth
  • Alexander N. Bodansky
  • Katharina Lotz-Schmitt

Building on an integration of research findings on intergroup behavior from multiple fields of scientific inquiry (biological and cultural paleoanthropology, social psychology), as well as research on the HEXACO personality framework (e.g., Ashton & Lee, 2007), 3 independent studies (total N = 1,007) were conducted to introduce and test a fresh personality perspective on human xenophilia. Even though the studies focused on different criteria (Study 1: favorable attitudes toward contact with immigrants, Study 2: habitual cross-cultural exploration, Study 3: favorable attitudes toward contact with indigenous people) and employed different operationalizations of major personality traits (the HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised [HEXACO-PI-R], the 10-item Big Five Inventory [BFI-10]) results were remarkably similar. First, path analyses confirmed that major personality traits were significant and direct predictors of xenophilia that were independent of the contributions of individual differences commonly predicting xenophobic reactions across studies. Second, and in line with the authors' more specific hypotheses, hierarchical regression analyses also corroborated that individual differences in the levels of endeavorrelated personality traits (i.e., eXtraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness) had a substantially greater power in predicting individual differences in xenophilia than individual differences in levels of altruism/cooperation-related traits (i.e., Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, and Agreeableness). The implications of these findings for more general psychological theorizing on human sociality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)832-851
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 11.2013
Externally publishedYes