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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2002 Apr;82(4):543-62.

Motivated self-stereotyping: heightened assimilation and differentiation needs result in increased levels of positive and negative self-stereotyping.

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Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, 61820, USA.


This research was conducted to explore the impact of assimilation and differentiation needs on content-specific self-stereotyping. According to optimal distinctiveness theory (M. B. Brewer, 1991), social identities serve the function of satisfying individuals' need for assimilation (in-group inclusion) and their need for differentiation (distinctiveness from others). It was proposed that one of the ways optimal social identities are maintained is through self-stereotyping. In 3 studies, the needs for assimilation and differentiation were experimentally manipulated, and support was found for increased self-stereotyping in response to heightened need arousal across both self-report and behavioral measures and across different social groups. Results also demonstrated that only those participants who were highly identified with their in-group were willing to engage in negative self-stereotyping.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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