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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2003 Dec;29(12):1509-20.

Social categorization and fear reactions to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.


Two experiments were run in The Netherlands and Belgium 1 week after the terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. The aim was to investigate whether social categorization affected emotional reactions, behavioral tendencies, and actual behaviors. Results showed that focusing participants' attention on an identity that included American victims into a common ingroup led them to report more fear and stronger fear-related behavioral tendencies and to engage more often in fear-related behaviors than when victims were categorized as outgroup members. Results are discussed with respect to appraisal theories of emotion and E. R. Smith's model of group-based emotions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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