The Role of Categorization and In-Group Norms in Judgments of Groups and Their Members

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Four minimal group experiments tested the prediction that judgments of groups and their members reflect evaluations made simultaneously but independently at the within-group and intergroup levels. On the basis of self-categorization theory and social identity theory, it was predicted that group members seek both intergroup distinctiveness and legitimization of in-group norms. In Experiments 1–3, membership (in-group, out-group), status of group members (modal, deviant), and either accountability to in-group or to out-group or salience of group norms were varied. Accountability and norm salience increased derogation of out-group normative (in-group deviant, out-group modal) and upgrading of in-group normative (in-group modal, out-group deviant) members. In Experiment 4, within-group differentiation reinforced in-group identification. These findings suggest that subjective group dynamics operate to bolster social identity when people judge modal and deviant in-group and out-group members.

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