Is social dominance orientation (SDO) a stable individual difference measuring a general orientation towards group-based inequality or constructed from the situational priming of attitudes and beliefs about specific groups? Two studies in Taiwan involving 1605 adults (Study 1) and 101 high school students (Study 2) addressed this dispute between social dominance theory (SDT) and self-categorization theory (SCT). In Study 1, questionnaires were used to prime the salience of either gender or arbitrary-set system (demographic group). In accord with SCT, and contrary to SDT’s invariance hypothesis, men were higher on SDO than women only when gender was salient, and Mingnan Taiwanese, the dominant group in the arbitrary-set system, were higher in SDO than Outside province Taiwanese and Hakka Taiwanese only when demographic group was salient. In Study 2, high school students on a field trip to a museum exhibit that primed race had significantly higher SDO scores compared to their pretest scores on a questionnaire priming demographic group. Test–retest reliability was 0.48, modest for a 1-week interval. SDO acted more like an ideological orientation than as a personality variable, with limited cross-situational consistency.
Personality and Individual Differences 38(2), pp.267-276