Evaluate the Social Identity Theory

Topics: Social identity, Identity, Stanford prison experiment Pages: 6 (1791 words) Published: March 6, 2011
Evaluate social identity theory.
-Henri Tajfel
-Based on social categorization, social identity, social comparison, and positive distinctiveness -Individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem, based on either personal identity or various social identities -Boost self-esteem through affiliation with successful groups; importance of social belonging -In-group (us) vs out-group (them)

-Self-esteem boost by social comparison the benefits of belonging to the in-group rather than the out-group -In-group favoritism and bonding, even after random assignment -Ingroup-serving bias
-Social comparison = motivated by positive distinctiveness
-Need to show that our in-group is better than some out-group -People have diff. personal and social identities
-Minimal group paradigm (Tajfel et al., 1971)
-Random allocation of British schoolboys into two groups
-Boys believed it was based on their preference for either Kandinsky or Klee paintings -Had to assign points to in-group and out-group members
-Boys gave more points to in-group members (favoritism)
GMEC et al [Gender, Methodology, Ethical (PCWIDD), Cultural. Evaluate by comparison, tolerate uncertainty, consider alternative explanations]
Elements from the social identity theory are relevant and entirely evident in human society. When people belong to a certain kind of group, whether it is politics, sports, or class, humans use that to derive a sense of identity to our individual selves, based on social categorization. There is an importance of social belonging and acceptance within everyone. People also bring out more the sense of identity by making different sorts of comparisons with out-groups. In using it, someone might invite one person into a group which has certain characteristics which they might want the one person to adopt. By defending it, it’s all a matter about building a social identity, picking the groups that people join with care.

Body:(Experiment 1- Tajfel + British school boys)
Body: (Experiment 1 – GMEC et al)
Unfortunately it was unethical in the fact that there was deception, as they were told that their preference towards the painting would determine which one of the two groups the boys would join. The boys then thought the idea of ‘them’ and ‘us’ in their minds, the out-group and in-group.

The experimenters wanted two groups of boys with not the faintest idea who was also in their own group or what the grouping meant or what they had to lose or gain.

Body: (Experiment 2- basking in reflected glory )
In 1976, Psychologist R.B. Cialdini and his co-authors wanted to emphasize the social identity theory with cutthroat evidence. The term was to “bask in reflected glory”, or associating oneself publically with other people who are successful as well. They investigated by looking at seven large football schools such as Michigan and Ohio State, and looked closely at the football fans. Researchers went into large lecture halls and observed what the student’s wore in clothing and apparel after the big football game. Results showed that the when a student’s football team won, they tended to wear more apparel associating themselves with their own university. However if a student’s football team lost, they tended to wear more normal clothes, not associated with the university such as by color or name. the most interesting part of this experiment was when the researchers interviewed random students about the game, and they found that when some people’s team won, they used the term “we” to describe the performance. However when the team lost, people used the term “they”. [This article is classic because it clearly demonstrated that people associate themselves with positive others even when they have no clear connection to the success of the positive others, which is essentially the BIRG phenomenon.]

Body: (Experiment 2- GMEC et al)
As for gender bias, there was none being taken into account for...
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