We conducted two studies to examine the role of the social norm of fairness on cognitive (beliefs and judgments) and affective (emotions and feelings) ambivalence in an intergroup context of evaluation. As predicted, we found that ambivalence toward the ingroup is constantly higher in the cognitive dimension than in the affective dimension. Instead, cognitive and affective ambivalence toward the outgroup are generally similar but when the outgroup is highly protected by the fairness norm (i.e., the elderly), cognitive ambivalence is considerably lower than affective ambivalence. These findings provide evidence that (1) cognitive ambivalence is more controlled by the fairness norm than affective ambivalence, and that (2) it holds an adaptive function, changing in accordance with the demands of the normative context.
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