Cross Categorization and Social Identity Management Paper Example

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1758 Words
Date:  2022-12-06

The academic discipline of psychology is currently experiencing an increase in literature on the area of categorization and social identity management. For instance, studies have been done in areas multiple group membership, real social groups, quasi-social minimal group paradigm through the distinctly nonsocial. Therefore, social psychologists benefit from the potential reduction of discrimination and prejudice and the realistic reflection of intergroup relations that are an outcome of multiple systems of categorization.

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The human social behavior has been explored and explained traditionally from different perspectives such as social-psychological, sociological, psychological and biological. Generally, this approaches maintains differences in the understanding and interpretation of social behavior despite the existence of similarities. The concept of social-psychology is a scientific study of a group or human behavior. However, Hogg and Abrams (2012) point out that ancient social psychology focused on small groups of people with a mutual relationship within a similar place and time.

Behind the inter-group behaviors, there could be other possible motivations. For instance, an attribution researcher did a study on how the behaviors are explained by others. He found out that there is an underestimation of the role of the environment and the situation, as people over-attribute others traits or internal dispositions (Richard, Miles and Mark, 2001). This error is believed to occur by the attribution theorists based on the focus of on a person and when a person behavior is observed by another individual, however, the main focus is on the visibility of the situation based on the attention the person is reacting to. However, the study will seek to do an in-depth analysis of the search for meaning in the social environment, and knowing or self-evolution of the primary human motive.

Previous studies have focused on both the motivational and cognitive explanations of the effect on the level of intergroup bias (Brown & Turner, 1979; Deschamps & Doise, 1978). A study by Crisp and Hewstone (1999) on the whether the level of bias is lower in an in-group compared to one outgroup categorization revealed that there is lack of clarity of the issues as much criticism arises in comparison to the previous studies. Through the use of a minimal group paradigm as the investigation on the reduction of intergroup biases based on the crossing, categories have been tested. Based on Martiny and Kessler (2014) study on the dynamic of social identity management, the decrease of an out-group directed anger and the restoration of social identity are based on successful identity management. However, the levels of anger to an out group will rise due to unsuccessful identity management based on blocked successful identity management based on the limited cognitive resources. The strong group members who highly value their groups suffer from the directed outgroup anger due to the effects of unsuccessful identity management. Negative emotions are directed towards the out-group that poses threats to a group due to the elicit negative emotions that arise from an in-group due to unsuccessful identity management.

According to Tajfel, in order for someone to understand the particular uniformities of the behaviors of members of groups. Therefore, Tajfel was of the view that it is important to understand the relationship on the form of social reality at a specific time while considering the psychological effects of construction and how the groups are constructed in a specific social system (Tafel, 1981). People drive their identity based on their social groups. For instance, society has different social categories that include religion, sex, class, and ethnicity. The Tajfel's model on the new social movements that propped in the 1960s and 70s as the model emphasized on the intergroup conflicts in relation to material resources and collective identity (Reicher, Spears & Haslam, 2010). However, on a later stage, the social psychologists adopted it as a general meta-theoretical perspective while few researchers looked at its relevance to political action and the attitudes (Hornsey, 2008). The past decade has been characterized by a rise in interest on how the cross-categorization and the social identity management on the enhancement of the the social psychological understanding of extremism, conspiracy theorizing, national separatism, schism, political activism and participation, political rhetoric, leadership, political affiliation and solidarity, party identification, informal and formal political behavior. Social identity is defined by Tajfel "that part of an individual's self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership in a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership" (Tajfel, 1978). Based on this perspective, members of a group develop a sense of belonging in the social world as they relate to one another in the group hence acting based on the desirable or appropriate forms of behavior that govern the membership of the group. Moreover, Tajfel claims that the social identity process, as opposed to the personal identity, underpins the intergroup behaviors. Meaning that individuals within the group will treat the members of a clique as group members as opposed to unique individuals as they personally identify with a specific group. The existing social psychological perspective differs with the Tajfel's approach as it tends to focus on the personality traits of a specific person as the means of explaining the intergroup behaviors. The social identity proposes that group members are generally concerned to achieve or maintain a positive sense of self as one of the motivational element of the behavior of an intergroup, therefore, for there is the need for members of a group to belong positively in the group they identify with (Hornsey & Hogg, 2000). Focusing on the nature of the process, the categorization that through depersonalization process, members of a group tend to see the in-group members as similar to them. However, the process of deindividuation does not involve the loss of selfhood, however, it is based on the personal experiences based on the membership of the group other than the unique characteristics of an individual (Reicher, Spears & Postmes, 2010).

Based on the (Jetten et al., 1997) study, it was found out that the in-group bias was minimal in the experimental group setting compared to the natural group setting which was stronger while Haslam et al. (1995) has different results as the in-group bias was stronger in his study. Therefore, the past studies failed to support the inter-group differentiation hence basing their main focus for social comparison on a non-relevant outgroup. An individual can protect his or her value system and guide for action in an appropriate circumstance while using the stereotypes in the environment or cognitive structuring. Stereotypes provide frameworks and act as a structural constant where the input is re-created, modified or adapted (Tajfel, 1982). The understanding of social change among people come into play based on the search for coherence.).

Based on the significance of human survival and life on the basis of group membership, it might be concluded that some individuals may prefer to perceive an intergroup context to outgroup only but under some conditions, the outgroup categorization can be negatively valued (Johnson, Freeman, & Pauker, 2012). However, cross categorizations to some extent can be imposed by the social content, motivations and perceivers' might shape the self-categorization of individuals (Johnson, Freeman, & Pauker, 2012). Various studies indicate that through social interactions, individuals always seek for security (Johnson, Freeman, & Pauker, 2012). However, there are various types of theories that advocates for individual security need in different groups. For instance, if the individuals achieve a shared common characteristic, it leads to the expectations of cooperation and trust (Lukes, 2005).

The main engine of both social change and social conflict are groups rather than individuals based on one the fundamental assumption of the social identity theory (Reicher et al., 2010). People are mainly concerned to achieve or maintain a positive sense of self (Hornsey, 2008). Social categories are evaluated and defined comparatively as proposed by the social identity theory. Consequently, group members will be motivated to maintain and establish positive differentiation between the relevant outgroups and in-group of valued comparison dimensions in order to achieve a positive evaluation (Tajfel, 1978). A positive social identity will be conferred to membership of a group that is consensually referred to as superior while unsatisfactory or negative social identity is regarded as inferior. Occasionally, the negative social identity leads to a collective action towards inferior status and the existing social hierarchy challenges.Various studies have focused on inter and intra-group behaviors such as conformity, prejudice, stereotyping and ethnocentrism, however, there is the need to conduct studies on the child and adult populations especially the college students. Various attempts have been made to validate and construct a parameter that can be used to measure social identity management. However, you cannot measure social identity directly as noted by Hogg and Abrams (2012). The systematic general effects that can be measured are produced through the underlying process of categorization. For instance, a ten scale item inventory was developed by (Brown, 2000). With the sole purpose of measuring the identification of a social group.

The judgments within a laboratory setting tend to be easy to interpret compared to the human characteristics in a complex social setting as acknowledged by Tajfel. However, several studies focus on the physical categories as opposed to complex social situations. Individual self-interest is acknowledged by the Tajfel arguments. He argues that there is the exclusion of the social identity on behavior and that the knowledge of what is already known does not move while focusing on the individual identity. A particular identity or category is not defined based on the comparison with another group of the same category hence forms one of the implications of the hierarchical structure. Moreover, the level of categorization above it dictates its definition (John, Samuel and Tamar, 2014). Specific dimensions of comparison are provided by the out groups and the in-group that are encompassed by the superordinate category. This is because the prototype of what the group should be like is defined by the superordinate category. For instance, members of the national group will compare themselves to the characteristics of a prototype of a good or greater nation other than any other random dimensions. Therefore, this dimension of comparison could help in explaining why groups would choose to the same level. Consequently, the superordinate categories might be defined by group members by comparing themselves with relevant outgroups that favor them (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999).


Focusing on the antecedents of the categorization process, the categorization theory addresses the reasons as to why a specific category in a particular context needs to be psychologically salient. The cross-categorization is based on the ideas of Burner (1957) proposes the integration of fit and accessibility as the determinants of the psychological salience of a particular level of self-categorization (Turner, Oakes, Haslam & McGarty, 1994). The functi...

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