‘Knowing that we are the same people but different from others is

Topics: Social identity, Social psychology, Identity formation Pages: 3 (1038 words) Published: May 26, 2014

‘Knowing that we are the same people but different from others is part of the way in which people form their identity.’
Outline findings from Experimental Social Psychology and one other approach that would support this claim.

Since the nineteenth century psychologists have been exploring the concept of identity and how it is formed. The theory of identity was first created by William James (1890) and to this day many psychologists have developed a variety of theories on identity to gain a better understanding. This essay will outline findings from Experimental Social Psychology, looking at the work of Henri Tajfel and how group identities are formed and Eriksson’s Psychosocial Theory and the social and personal factors that play a role in identity development. Each approach will explain the processes people go through to from their identity.

Tajfel first developed the Social identity Theory through the research he carried out in the 1970’on the cause and effect of prejudice. His personal experience as a European Jew during the Second World War led him to devise a theory of social identities and inter-group relations, which was focused mainly on social identity rather than individualistic. (Phoenix 2007). Tajfel carried out a study to demonstrate that simply putting people in groups was enough to cause discrimination against members of other groups. Henri conducted a laboratory study where 14 and 15 year old school boys were put in to groups randomly but where given false reasons as to why they were in that group. For instance the group formation was based on the choice of paintings. One group was told they had chosen the artist Klee and the other group were told they chosen the artist Kandisky. Then put in to cubicles on their own, they were asked to allocate points to pairs of unknown boys. What Tajfel found was that when the boys were asked to give points to two members of the in-group and two members of the out -group they were fair, on the...
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