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Group immersion and intergroup differentiation: contextual shifts in categorization

Long, Karen M. and Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid 1997. Group immersion and intergroup differentiation: contextual shifts in categorization. British Journal of Social Psychology 36 (3) , pp. 291-303. 10.1111/j.2044-8309.1997.tb01133.x

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Abstract

Immersion in a social category is associated with greater adherence to group norms, one such norm being a tendency to engage in in-group bias. It was predicted that psychology students would differentiate more between the category psychology students and engineering students under conditions of high immersion in the former category. Groups of psychology students (task group) performed a group task under conditions of high vs. Iow group immersion, the product of which they subsequently evaluated, together with products allegedly produced by another group of psychology students (in-group), and a group of engineering students (out-group). It was found that immersion influenced the pattern of ratings awarded to the three different solutions. In the high immersion condition, the other group of psychology students' product was awarded significantly lower ratings than the participants' task group's solution. Task group products were also rated more positively than out-group products. In the low immersion condition, in contrast, there was no intra-category differentiation between task and in-group products, and both were positively distinguished from out-group products. Thus when membership of the category psychology students was stressed, there was a strong tendency for participants to differentiate their own task group's solution from those produced by other psychology groups. When emphasis was placed on individual performance, there was unexpectedly strong inter-category differentiation. These results are discussed in the context of Brewer's (1991) model of optimal distinctiveness, and self-categorization theory.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
ISSN: 0144-6665
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:12
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/34641

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