Categorizing at the group-level in response to intragroup social comparisons: A self-categorization theory integration of self-evaluation and social identity motives.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Two experiments examined how people respond to upward social comparisons in terms of the extent to which they categorize the self and the source of comparison within the same social group. Self-evaluation maintenance theory (SEM) suggests that upward ingroup comparisons can lead to the rejection of a shared categorization, because shared categorization makes the comparison more meaningful and threatening. In contrast, social identity theory (SIT) suggests that upward ingroup comparisons can lead to the acceptance of shared categorization because a high-performing ingroup member enhances the ingroup identity. We attempted to resolve these differing predictions using self-categorization theory, arguing that SEM applies to contexts that make salient one’s personal identity, and SIT applies to contexts that make collective identity salient. Consistent with this perspective, the level of identity activated in context moderated the effect of an upward ingroup comparison on the acceptance of shared social categorization.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
psychology, social comparisons, self-evaluation maintenance theory, social groups, group identity, social psychology

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