Priming Self-Determined and Non-Self-Determined Group Identification: Effects on Well-Being and Ingroup Bias

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Social identity is considered a key social psychological variable to understand intergroup behaviors. Given that social identity has been associated with divergent outcomes (e.g., individual well-being, helping behaviors, ingroup bias), we investigated which dimensions of social identification yield these divergent consequences. To this aim, the present study applied self-determination theory to capture how group members’ motivation for identifying with their ingroup may predict these different intergroup and individual outcomes. The research also tested the interplay between these motivations to identify and participants’ chronic levels of social identification. Motivation to identify was experimentally manipulated using a priming methodology to activate the implicit motives underlying identification with groups. Québécois undergraduate students took part in the study (N = 113). As expected, results from moderated multiple regression analyses revealed that identification with Québec was significantly related to more ingroup bias among participants who were primed with a non-self-determined motivation to identify. Well-being was significantly predicted by degree of identification but not by primed motivation. Results are interpreted in light of social identity theory and self-determination theory.

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