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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Sep;81(3):448-62.

Individuality and group formation: the role of independence and differentiation.

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Institut für Psychologie, Universität Kiel, Germany.


This research examined the interplay of group formation and individualization processes with a particular emphasis on minority and majority groups. First, a 2-component theory of individuality that distinguishes between individuality as independence and as differentiation from other people was presented, tested, and cross-validated in 2 questionnaire studies. Next, a pilot experiment provided first support for the working assumption that the salience of the differentiation or independence components of individuality differentially affect minority and majority group formation. Finally, the main experiment demonstrated that these individuality effects on minority and majority group formation are due largely to a differential orientation toward either intergroup or intragroup comparisons. This experiment also uncovered a unique effect of relative in-group size, but this effect was limited to similarity-based group formation.

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