Collective psychological ownership and territorial compensation in Australia and South Africa

Wybren Nooitgedagt, Borja Martinovic, Maykel Verkuyten, Sibusiso Maseko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Collective psychological ownership as a sense that a territory belongs to a group might explain attitudes of the White majority toward territorial compensation for Indigenous Peoples in settler societies. Ownership can be inferred from different general principles and we considered three key principles: autochthony (entitlements from first arrival), investment (entitlements from working the land), and formation (primacy of the territory in forming the collective identity). In two studies, among White Australians (Study 1, N = 475), and White South Africans (Study 2, N = 879), we investigated how support for these general principles was related to perceived ingroup (Anglo-Celtic/White South African) and outgroup (Indigenous Australian/Black South African) territorial ownership, and indirectly, to attitudes toward territorial compensation for the Indigenous outgroup. Endorsement of autochthony was related to stronger support for territorial compensation through higher perceived outgroup ownership, whereas investment was related to lower support through higher perceived ingroup ownership. Agreement with the formation principle was related to stronger support for compensation through higher outgroup ownership, and simultaneously to lower support through higher ingroup ownership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87–108
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • autochthony
  • collective psychological ownership
  • formation
  • indigenous groups
  • investment


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