Social Identity (and Categorization) Theory

Social Identity (and Categorization) Theory

Social Identity (and Categorization) Theory Henri Tajfel 3biii Evaluate Social Identity Theory, making reference to relevant studies Social Identity Theory - Henri Tajfel Assumes people try to improve selfimage/esteem thru personal accomplishment & their social identity

Small groups are formed in society according to common interests Individuals will then identify with those small groups on a personal level source of pride People belong to many groups and each varies in importance to ones self-concept SIT contd

Group schemas tell us what to think, feel, and do in particular contexts Once identified these behaviors become stereotypes of in-group normative behavior Distinctions are made between in-group and out-group based solely on group membership Creates us vs. them distinctions

between in- and out-groups In-groups are always favored For example How many of you have criticized a parent this week? How would you react if someone else, not a relative criticized your

parents? How many of you whine and complain about UAIS? How do you react when people who dont go here criticize this program? Tajfel study (1970)

[Aim] To test the Social Identity Theory. 48 boys were assigned at random to 2 groups based on their preference between Klee or Kandinskys art work. [Proc.] Asked to rate in-group and out-group based on traits e.g. like-ability. Tajfel found that the out-group was rated less likeable, [Find.] but never actually disliked.

There seems to be a preference of the in-group over outgroup, however it is not clear that they make social [Concl. comparisons to enhance either self-esteem. Later research Social identity does not account for ] intergroup conflict. In the absence of competition, social comparison can be positive. Supports Social Identity Theory. Showed the formation and the features of SIT. [Eval.] Ecological validity: Low, lab conditions.

Meaningless groups. Controlled environment removed confounding variables. Klee & Kandinsky Cialdini (1976) Demonstrate social comparison with college [A] football supporters.

[P] Observed what college students wear to school the next day after their football game. Students wore apparel with the representative [F] colour of their school the day after the football game if the school won. Result of positive self-concept results in a bias

intergroup comparison. [C] Having a positive representation of your social group (Positive distinctiveness). Cmon I had to Nass, Fogg, Moon Study (1995) [A]

Social Identity will form w/randomly assigned team 28 students (equal men &women) initiated into the Blue Group. Then randomly assigned to [P] answer questions on blue or green computers. Blue-blue was blue team vs. blue indivs. working on green computer

Blue team changed their answers to match the [F] team computer answers more often than individuals Suggests a SI has formed between blue members and blue computer [C] Suggests that even in absence of other people, SIs can still form Zimbardo Stanford Prison

Study Coming Soon to Psych Class Near You! And NowThis Strengths of SIT Lots of empirical research supports it

Widely applicable Humans actively engaged in sense of self Creates norms & culture for people to adhere and belong to Explanation for stereotyping and discrimination Limitations of SIT

Describes but cant predict Personal identity can be stronger people do reject their group Above esp. w/ people of high selfesteem Reductionist doesnt account for situational factors Research is often lab based, low EV Hey, we were talking about art earlier,

so thats my excuse to show you this Social Categorization Theory SCT (John Turner, 1985/87) Less emphasis on self-esteem, more emphasis on how categories become the cognitions that guide group behavior

Categories help individuals see in-groups as more diverse than they are and out-groups as more similar than they are Creating categories requires depersonalization Example aggression in sports is depersonalized as team behavior Not to be confused with dehumanization or deindividuation

SCT contd Says we view groups in terms of prototypes or norms They are cognitive representations (aka?), characteristics of a groups attitudes, beliefs and behaviors based on info we have Most salient about groups in a specific context nation, religion etc But, stereotyping is best framed as in-group

preference rather than out-group disfavor (Fiske, 2004) So What? Help us understand how in-groups shape representations of our selves (etic) But the self means different things in individualist vs. collectivist cultures (emic) Social self really exists on 3 levels

1. Individual your self is uniquejust like everyone else 2. Relational self exists in terms of harmonious relationsI love you, you love me 3. Collective Self fits in depersonalized categories of groups with symbolic value to the personIm a neo-Gothic, post-Existentialist, new-wave, hipster

So What? SIT & SCT explain level 3 but more for individualist than collectivist cultures In collectivist cultures, social self exists at the relational level & are personalized Designed to maintain in-group harmony and cooperation Each culture is emic, but generally

collectivist cultures social identities are more relational than categorical Okseriously, so what? Identifying with a culture evolved over time to maximize individual survival One aspect of culture is mobility high correlates with individualism, low with collectivism Little chance at mobility? In your interest to

behave in ways that promote harmony dont steal a chicken cuz where you gonna run? Greater mobility allows you to find your place that allow your interests & preferences to define your relationship to the group (groups still important) Ultimately social identity is etic but its emphasis is emic

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