What do you mean by european? : spontaneous ingroup projection : evidence from sequential priming

Bianchi, Mauro GND

According to the Ingroup Projection Model (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999), people who belong to a group tend to generalize typical ingroup characteristics to the superordinate category. That is, they project ingroup features onto the inclusive category. As a consequence of this process, the more group members perceive their ingroup as prototypical for the inclusive category the more the attitudes towards an outgroup become negative (Waldzus & Mummendey, 2004). In my dissertation, evidence was found for a “spontaneous ingroup projection”, that is, an association between a superordinate category prime and the ingroup instead of the outgroup prototype. In order to examine the process of ingroup projection at the implicit level, I decided to rely on sequential priming techniques. These techniques have been used in the context of research on implicit stereotyping precisely because they provide strong tests for the existence of an association between two concepts (Bargh & Chartrand, 2000). Specifically, I adapted a procedure from Wittenbrink, Judd and Park (1997). In Experiment 1 (N=95), it has been examined whether there was a spontaneous association between a superordinate category and the ingroup or the outgroup stereotypes. Concretely, it has been tested whether a superordinate category prime, namely European, facilitated the processing of ingroup rather than outgroup stereotypical attributes in two different populations, namely Italian and German undergraduate students. Research rooted in Self-Categorization Theory (Turner et al., 1987) highlighted that what is believed to be true of the ingroup depends on the particular frame of reference participants are embedded. With experiment 2 (N=42), 3 (N=81), and 4 (N=53), my goal was to investigate the process of spontaneous ingroup projection in the absence of an inter-group context and to compare this “solo” situation (i.e., intra-group context) with a situation in which the ingroup is compared with an other group i.e., inter-group context). Interestingly, research shows that stereotyping can be context-sensitive (Wittenbrink, Judd, & Park, 2001). Along similar lines, ingroup stereotypes have been shown to be determined by the frame of reference emerging from the context (Haslam & Turner; 1992). Different from Experiments 2, 3, and 4, in Experiment 5 two different inter- roup contexts were compared (e.g., Germans vs. Italians or Germans vs. British).


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