What Do You Mean by "European"? Evidence of Spontaneous Ingroup Projection

ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute, Lisbon, Portugal.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (Impact Factor: 2.52). 07/2010; 36(7):960-74. DOI: 10.1177/0146167210367488
Source: PubMed


The ingroup projection model posits that group members project ingroup features onto a superordinate category. The present research aimed at isolating the cognitive underpinnings of this process. If ingroup projection is a spontaneous cognitive process, a superordinate category prime should facilitate the processing of the ingroup prototype rather than the outgroup prototype. Three studies support this hypothesis by comparing subliminal semantic priming in two different populations, an intra- versus intergroup situation, and with an ingroup prototype manipulated by changing the intergroup context. Results indicated that the superordinate category prime facilitated the processing of ingroup rather than outgroup traits (Experiment 1) and that these traits depended on the particular content of the ingroup prototype made salient by different contexts (Experiments 2 and 3). The findings indicate that the cognitive representation of the superordinate category is based on ingroup traits and that this representation is context dependent.

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    • "This makes European identity a more accessible and permeable category (see also Bruter, 2004; Faas, 2007). The higher permeability of the European identity for ethnic minorities can also be framed with the Ingroup Projection Model (IPM; see Bianchi et al., 2010; Mummendey and Wenzel, 1999). IPM posits that people tend to spontaneously project their features onto the superordinate category. "
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    • "Previous research investigating IPM processes has primarily relied on questionnaires or alternatively on implicit, computer-assisted measures but not behavioral outcomes (for a review, see Wenzel et al., 2007; Bianchi, Mummendey, Steffens, & Yzerbyt, 2010; Imhoff, Dotsch, Bianchi, Banse, & Wigboldus, 2011). Extending these findings to behavioral outcome measures is crucial given that attitudes do not necessarily translate into corresponding behavior (for a meta-analysis, see Kraus, 1995). "
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    • "With regard to ingroup projection, it could be claimed that participants have no prior conviction of greater typicality of their ingroup for the superordinate group but that asking them directly will produce such a response. Likewise, priming them with words pretested as particularly typical for their ingroup (Bianchi et al., 2010) might prompt such responses. In RCIC tasks participants are entirely free to create an image they find representative of the given (superordinate) category without any mention of any subgroup, the self, or attributed typical for either in-or outgroup. "
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