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Group immersion and intergroup differentiation: contextual shifts in categorisation

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 18:38 authored by Karen LongKaren Long, Antony S R Manstead
Immersion in a social category is associated with greater adherence to group norms, one such norm being a tendency to engage in in-group bias. Ic was predicted that psychology students would differentiate more between the category psychology students and engineering students under conditions of high immersion in the former category. Groups of psychology students (task group) performed a group task under conditions of high vs. low group immersion, the product of which they subsequently evaluated, together with products allegedly produced by another group of psychology students (ingroup), and a group of engineering students (out-group). It was found that immersion influenced the pattern of ratings awarded to the three different solutions. In the high immersion condition, the other group of psychology students' product was awarded significantly lower ratings than the participants' task group's solution. Task group products were also rated more positively than our-group produces. In the low immersion condition, in contrast, there was no intra-category differentiation between task and in-group products, and both were positively distinguished from out-group produces. Thus when membership of the category psychology students was stressed, there was a strong tendency for participants to differentiate their own cask group's solution from chose produced by other psychology groups. When emphasis was placed on individual performance, there was unexpectedly strong inter-category differentiation. These results are discussed in the context of Brewer's (1991) model of optimal distinctiveness, and self-categorization theory.


Publication status

  • Published


British Journal of Social Psychology




British Journal of Social Psychology



Page range

291 - 303



Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications


First Author Part 3

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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