Social identity theory etg2006

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  • John Turner – Australian social psychologist Henri Tajfel – British social psychologist
  • Realistic Group Conflict Theory (Sherif et al’s Robbers Cave Experiments, (1953, 1955, 1961) o         Group members’ intergroup attitudes and behaviour reflect the objective interests of the groups           Compatible group interests result to intergroup harmony           Incompatible group interests result to antagonism and hostility Minimal Group Studies (Tajfel, 1971) o         Minimal Group Paradigm           No social interaction between groups           No shared goals           Participants unaware of others’ group membership o         Maximizing ingroup profit and ingroup gain relative to outgroup gain (i.e. MIP and MD) preferred strategy (i.e. in-group favouritism)
  • We categorize - we find it useful to put people and ourselves into categories, I.e. Ilocano, Cebuana, Filipino, Asian, as a short-hand way of saying some other things about the person We identify – we associate ourselves with certain groups (our ingroups ) and gain self-esteem by saying so We compare – we contrast our groups with other groups (our outgroups ) with favorable bias toward our own group
  • Prototypes – multi-dimensional, fuzzy sets of attributes that describe and prescribe perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and actions that define the ingroup and distinguish it from relevant outgroups; “You see one and you’ve seen them all” The configuration of prototypes is governed by the metacontrast principle – they optimize the ratio of inter-category differences to intra-category differences, and thus maximize entitativity
  • Depersonalization= a change in the basis of perception; does not, in itself, have negative connotation of terms such as deindividuation or dehumanization (e.g. A Senator belonging to one political party is assumed to take the same position of his/her party colleagues on all aspects. Political lobbying experiences does not prove it, however.) Deindividuation – loss of identity and its automatic link to irresponsible and anti-social behaviors Dehumanizaiton – the perception and treatment of other persons as essentially non-human
  • When our group is small and lower in status relative to the outgroup (Ellemers & others, 1997; Mullen & others, 1992); when out ingroup is the majority, we think less about it (e.g. foreign students, homosexuals, ethnic groups) Conspicuous groups on no logical basis – say merely by composing groups X and Y with the flip of a coin (Billig & Tajfel, 1973; Brewer & Silver, 1978; Locksley & others, 1980) - To maximize self-esteem, people evaluate their ingroups more highly than outgroups, and themselves more highly than their ingroup (Lindeman, 1997)
  • Israeli historian and former Jerusalem deputy mayor Meron Benvesti (1988) reports that among Jerusalem’s Jews and Arabs, social identity is so central to self-concept that it constantly reminds them of who they are not. Thus, on the integrated street where he lives, his own children- to his dismay- “have not acquired a single Arab friend.” When our group has actually been successful, we can make ourselves feel better by identifying more strongly with it. (BIRG) - on a friend’s achievement, except when the friend outperforms us on something pertinent to our identity (Tesser & others, 1988)  
  • If both, loyalty to one’s group should produce a devaluing of other groups. [Does ethnic pride cause prejudice?] Outgroups stereotypes prosper when people feel keenly their ingroup identity, when they are with other ingroup members (Wilder & Shapiro, 1991) Ingroup bias results as much or more from perceiving that one’s own group is good (Brewer, 1979) as from a sense that other groups are bad (Rosenbaum & Holtz, 1985). Positive feelings for our own groups need not be mirrored by equally strong negative feelings for outgroups. Devotion to one’s own race, religious, and social group sometimes does predispose a person to devalue other races, religions, and social groups. But the sequence is not automatic
  • Looking Glass Self?
  • Self-stereotyping (or autostereotyping) – accepting socially shared generalizations about the prototypical characteristics attributed to members of one’s group as accurate descriptions of oneself
  • Acquiring self-worth
  • Social identity is context specific insofar as different social identities are salient in different social contexts, and the same social identity may take a different form as a function of contextual demands (Abrams, 1992,1996; Oakes et al., 1994)
  • e.g. finding and defining my own culture when exposed to Nueva Vizcaya for seven years
  • Self-concept (our sense of who we are) contains not just a personal identity (our sense of personal attributes and attitudes) but a social identity Group life involves social interaction, interdependent goals, and so forth…
  • Groups and their members act strategically to sustain positive SI, within the bounds of what is possible and legitimate
  • Provided a powerful complement to other major theoretical orientation in inter-group relations, realistic group conflict theory – thus, its first major contribution was to fill some important gaps left by the more singularly materialistic explanation of Sherif and others Clever combination of cognitive and motivational processes into a single explanatory account – The theory proposes that intergroup behavior is always preceded by some social categorization activity The prospect of resolving one of the classic conundrums of group psychology – the relationship between the individual and the group – SI Theory provided an analysis of intergroup behavior which was simultaneously individualistic (in that it proposed individual psychological mechanisms and hence used orthodox methodologies for the observation of individuals perceptions, judgments and behavior) and social (in that it showed how uniform behavior could result from the internalization of the same group concept by members of an ingroup, and was concerned to explain widespread collective phenomena such as prejudice or social protest movements).
  • High self-monitors: “I am me, the me I am right now” Low self-monitors: congruence between “who they are” and “what they do” Effects of the shift in public appearance on the more private realities of self-concept: We become the persons we appear to be (particularly likely when the image we present wins the approval and favor of those around us); experiment by Jones, Gergen and Davis at Duke University- half of pax received favorable reactions from interviewers, the rest did not; estimate of how accurately and honestly their self-descriptions had mirrored their true personalities; interp: people operating with pragmatic definitions of self-concept- positive results mean accurate reflection of the inner self Signey Jourard- one of the first in modern psych to believe that a person’s ability to reveal a “true self” to intimates is essential to emotional health

Transcript

  • 1. SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY A Report for Psy 283 by Eden T. Gallardo
  • 2. Discussion Outline ♦Key Facets, Assumptions ♦The Self and Social Identity ♦The Group and Social Identity ♦Protecting the Collective and Personal Self ♦Critique
  • 3. What Social Identity Does for Social Psychology Explains where perspectives come from Explains why people function as representatives of their groups Gives meaning to the concept of “identity”
  • 4. Key Facets of Social Identity Theory Humans have a basic need for positive self-esteem (self- enhancement)
  • 5. Key Facets of Social Identity Theory The importance and ubiquity of categorization People have a strong tendency to mentally organize things and people (including themselves) into categories (e.g. race, ethnicity, age) Realistic Group Conflict Theory (Sherif et al’s Robbers Cave Experiments, (1953, 1955, 1961) Minimal Group Studies (Tajfel, 1971)
  • 6. Key Facets of Social Identity Theory To the extent that we associate ourselves (categorize ourselves) with groups, we have social identities There are two aspects to identity, and self-esteem is wrapped up in both (Personal Identity, Social Identity) Social identities (via our ingroup memberships) are important aspects of how we define ourselves
  • 7. Key Facets of Social Identity Theory Accentuation effect (“us” vs. “them”) Social identities also dictate our perceptions of members of our “ingroups” as: Similar to us, at least on the dimension that define the groups, and other positive attributes (overestimation of in-group similarity and between-group differences) And social identities serve to distinguish us and those in our ingroups from members of outgroups (outgroup homogeneity effect)
  • 8. Social Identity Theory: Assumptions 1. We categorize 2. We identify (ingroups) 3. We compare (outgroups)
  • 9. We categorize: Social Categorization Social identity processes are cognitively generated by social categorization of the self and others People represent groups as prototypes The cognitive-perceptual system selects, and forms prototypes around, attributes that identify similarities among individuals in the same group, and differences between people from different groups
  • 10. We categorize: Social Categorization Social categorization causes people to be viewed through a lens of category membership (depersonalization) Applied to the self: transforms self-conception so that people feel like group members, depersonalizing attitudes, feelings and behaviors such that they conform to the in- group prototype
  • 11. We identify: Ingroup Bias The tendency to favor one’s own group (to maximize self-esteem) Occurs with both sexes and with people of all ages and nationalities, though especially with people from individualist cultures. People from communal cultures identify more with all their peers and so treat everyone more the same.
  • 12. We identify: Ingroup Bias Occurs when our group is small and lower in status relative to the outgroup; when our ingroup is the majority, we think less about it (e.g. foreign students, homosexuals, ethnic groups) Conspicuous groups on no logical basis
  • 13. We identify: Ingroup Bias The more important our social identity and the more attached we feel to a group, the more we react prejudicially to threats from another group (Crocker & Luhtanen, 1990; Hinkle & others, 1992). When our group has actually been successful, we can make ourselves feel better by identifying more strongly with it. (BIRG)
  • 14. We identify: Ingroup Bias Ingroup bias is the favoring of one’s own group Liking for the ingroup - own group is good Dislike for the outgroup - other groups are bad [sequence is not automatic] Or BOTH loyalty to one’s group resulting to devaluing of other groups
  • 15. The SELF and SOCIAL IDENTITY
  • 16. The Self The SELF provides an anchor for judgments and reactions to the ingroup, and indeed the ingroup becomes a part of the self (Cadinu and Rothbart, 1996; Otten, 2003; Smith and Henry, 1996)
  • 17. C.P. Ellis: From Klan Member to Enlightened Humanitarian Human Relations Council: •Concerned with improving social conditions •Targets of discrimination •Economically exploited C.P. Ellis: (core elements of sense of self) •Concerned with improving social conditions •Target of discrimination •Economically exploited C.P. Ellis: Resident of North Carolina C.P. Ellis: Democrat C.P. Ellis: right-hander C.P. Ellis: brown-eyed
  • 18. Ingroup Identification as the Inclusion of Ingroup in the Self (Tropp, L. and Wright, S., 2001) GS S S SG G G Low identifiers High identifiers
  • 19. C.P. Ellis: From Klan Member to Enlightened Humanitarian KKK: •Meeting in a large room C.P. Ellis: (shameful) •Tattered shirts and pants = “It was thrilling”; “Here’s the moment to be something” SELF-WORTH
  • 20. A Collective Self-Esteem Scale: Self Evaluation of One’s Social Identity (R. Luhtanen and J. Crocker, 1992) Subscale Issue Example Item Membership Esteem Am I a valuable or an ineffective member of the groups to which I belong? I am a worthy member of the social groups I belong to. Private Collective Self-Esteem Do I evaluate the groups I belong to positively or negatively? I feel good about the social groups I belong to. Public Collective Self-Esteem Do other people evaluate the groups I belong to positively or negatively? In general, others respect the social groups I belong to. Identity Are the groups I belong to an important or unimportant part of my identity? In general, belonging to social groups is an important part of my self-image.
  • 21. C.P. Ellis: From Klan Member to Enlightened Humanitarian ♦ C.P. left the KKK - put his individual needs above his group’s needs (individual mobility) ♦ CP joined the Human Relations Council – substantial change in attitude, values, and beliefs “like bein’ born again.”
  • 22. The Social Identity Perspective People define and evaluate themselves in terms of the groups to which they belong- groups provide people with a collective self-concept, a social identity, and people have as many social identities as the groups to which they feel they belong. Hence, the struggle to establish or maintain positive group distinctiveness
  • 23. The GROUP and SOCIAL IDENTITY
  • 24. From “me” to “we” ♦ Asserting uniqueness vs. finding commonalities ♦ Group behaviors (e.g. conformity, stereotyping, ethnocentrism, ingroup favoritism, ingroup cohesion) occur when social identity is the salient basis for self- conceptualization, and the content of group behavior rests on the specific social identity that is salient
  • 25. Three-Stage Model of African American Ethnic Identity (Phinney, 1996) ♦ Unexamined Identity Stage - Individuals in the first stage of identity development either do not characterize people, including themselves, on the basis of ethnicity (diffusion) or they accept other people’s definition of their ethnicity without question (foreclosure); ends when individuals begin exploring the meaning of their ethnicity ♦ Exploration Stage – immersion in one’s ethnic culture; in some cases, adamant rejection of the values of the majority ♦ Identity Achievement Stage – individuals internalize their ethnicity in their sense of self
  • 26. Cognitive Definition of a Social Group A group exists psychologically when two or more people define and evaluate themselves in terms of the defining and often prescriptive properties of a common self-inclusive category (Hogg & Abrams)
  • 27. We compare: Social identity influences intergroup bias and relations through the process of social comparison (Festinger, 1954) Social comparison is the evaluation of ourselves (our performance, our abilities, our appearance, etc.) in relation to others Upward social comparison - lowers our self- esteem Downward social comparison - raises our self- esteem
  • 28. We compare: Social identity influences intergroup bias and relations through the process of social comparison (Festinger, 1954) To the extent that we identify with the group When we compare our group to better groups - group esteem suffers, self-esteem suffers by association When we compare our group to worse groups - group esteem improves, self-esteem improves by association Consequently, to the extent that we identify with groups that are valued (e.g. powerful, prestigious, high-status, popular), we’ll feel good about ourselves
  • 29. Protecting the COLLECTIVE and the PERSONAL SELF
  • 30. Since people are highly motivated to achieve self- esteem… Creative (or proactive) social comparison Selecting dimensions on which to compare - those on which your group excels Distorting perception of outgroups [and ingroups] - stereotyping and prejudice Promoting (give advantages) to your ingroup - nepotism Hinder outgroups - discrimination
  • 31. Since people are highly motivated to achieve self- esteem… Social mobility ♦ Identifying with high-status groups (where group boundaries are perceived as permeable) Members of low-status groups are likely to seize opportunities of shifting to a high-status group Members of high-status groups are likely to be motivated to preserve their group membership; more likely to show ingroup bias on status- relevant dimensions
  • 32. Critique of the Social Identity Theory
  • 33. 3 Substantive and Enduring Reasons for SI Theory’s Popularity (Capozza & Brown, 2000) ♦ A powerful complement to other major theoretical orientation in inter-group relations, realistic group conflict theory ♦ Clever combination of cognitive and motivational processes into a single explanatory account ♦ The prospect of resolving one of the classic conundrums of group psychology – the relationship between the individual and the group
  • 34. Link of Social Identity Studies ♦ Stereotypes, Prejudice, Discrimination (Individual and Institutional) ♦ Inter-Cultural Conflict ♦ Cooperation, Competition ♦ Organizational Psychology Current Explorations: ♦ One’s Ingroup in a Multiple of Outgroups ♦ Multiple categorization studies ♦ Motivation, Affect as Mediators/Moderators of Social Identity Processes
  • 35. References Capozza, D. & Brown, R. (2000). Social identity processes. London: SAGE Publications. Forsyth, D.R. (2006). Group dynamics. (4th ed.) Belmont” CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Haslam, S.A. (2001). Psychology in organizations: the social identity approach. London: SAGE Publications. Hogg, M.A. & Abrams, D. (2003). Intergroup behavior and social identity. Pp. 407-422 in Hogg, M.A. & Cooper, J. (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Social Psychology. London: SAGE Publications. Myers, D.G. (2002). Social psychology. (7th ed.) NY: McGraw-Hill.
  • 36. -End of Slides-
  • 37. The Many Me’s of the Self-Monitor (Snyder) ♦ High self-monitors exercise control over their self-presentations ♦ High self-monitors are also adept at detecting impression management in others; may be especially fond of those who avoid strategic posturing ♦ Effects of the shift in public appearance on the more private realities of self-concept: – We become the persons we appear to be – Only through self-disclosure could we achieve self-discovery and self-knowledge (Signey Jourard)
  • 38. General Limitations of the Social Identity Theory  Makes prejudice and discrimination appear almost inevitable ο cf. self-categorization theory Overemphasis on strategic, conscious social comparison processes ο cf. automaticity in social comparison (e.g., Spears, et al., 2004)
  • 39. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations
  • 40. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: General Processes ♦ In group contexts, the perceptions and behavior of individual workers will be directed more by their group membership than by their individuality ♦ Mutual influence, persuasion, cooperation, and trust all increase to the extent that parties share a salient social identity ♦ Shared social identity is the basis of a distinct and consensually embraced organizational culture
  • 41. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Leadership ♦ Even-handedness will undermine a leader’s capacity to demonstrate leadership in many inter- group contexts ♦ Leaders and followers must define themselves in terms of a shared social identity in order for leadership to emerge ♦ Pay structures that are perceived to differentiate unfairly between leaders and followers (and which create a sense of “us” and “them”) will undermine leadership and group productivity
  • 42. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Motivation ♦ Loyalty, rule-following and extra-role behavior increases when employees define themselves in terms of a relevant team or organizational identity ♦ (Personal) self-actualization is associated with career commitment and personal advancement towards organizational roles ♦ Attention to employees’ personal costs and benefits makes it harder to achieve substantial collaborative goals
  • 43. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Communication ♦ Information-sharing between parties increase if they share a salient social identity ♦ Barriers to communication increase across self-categorical boundaries ♦ Enduring social identities lead groups to develop shared and distinctive communication practices
  • 44. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Decision-making ♦ Group decisions are likely to be polarized under conditions of inter-group conflict ♦ Group decisions based on a shared identity will be associated with enhanced desire for, and achievement of, consensus ♦ Groups whose members have a strong sense of shared identity are more likely to make courageous decisions
  • 45. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Negotiation ♦ Negotiated settlements to social conflict that are based only on personal relationships and understandings will tend to be short-lived ♦ When their social identity is salient, parties’ satisfaction with negotiated outcomes increases if group-based differences have been addressed ♦ Integrative solutions to group differences are more likely to be preceded by conflict than by concession-making
  • 46. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Power ♦ Non-contingent treatment of employees (I.e. petty tyranny) increases where those employees are perceived to be an outgroup ♦ Empowerment and power sharing will be increased when parties share a salient social identity ♦ Power use will be interpreted more positively (e.g. as leadership) when it is perceived to be predicated on shared social identification
  • 47. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Group Productivity ♦ Individuals in groups will tend to underperform when a relevant social identity is not salient or a group goal is prescribed by an outgroup ♦ Labour will be divided more effectively if group members share a salient social identity ♦ Productivity on a group task will increase to the extent that group goals are congruent with a salient social identity
  • 48. Some Practical Implications to Psychology in Organizations: Collective Action ♦ Identification with a group increases an individual’s sensitivities to injustices against it ♦ Tokenism reduces the likelihood of collective action ♦ Shared social identification is a necessary pre-condition of collective action