Perceiving and remembering social groups : ingroup projection, goal types, and memory distortions

Berthold, Annegret GND

According to the Ingroup Projection Model (Mummendey & Wenzel, 1999), groups are compared with reference to an inclusive superordinate group and group members transfer features of their ingroup (IG) onto this superordinate group (SOG). Consequently, the own group becomes relatively prototypical and other groups (i.e outgroups; OGs ) are less prototypical and less positively evaluated. It is predicted that ingroup projection differs regarding two types of group goals. These goal types are minimal goals, implying an either-or evaluation, and maximal goals, implying graded evaluations (Brendl & Higgins, 1996). Assuming that minimal goals are particularly important for the IG’s viability, these goals should be perceived as particular prototypical, which consequentially has an impact on the attitudes towards the relevant OG. These assumptions were confirmed across different contexts in four studies. Additionally, it was found that IG goals were also projected on the ideal representation of the SOG, leading to similar results as for the actual SOG representation. Moreover, it was examined whether ingroup projection functions like a cognitive schema and hence influences information processing and memory. A modified Who-said-What paradigm (Taylor, Fiske, Etcoff, & Ruderman, 1978) was applied and participants were presented with information from IG, OG and SOG. Three studies support the assumption that ingroup projection affects individuals’ memory – recall, recognition performance and the assignment of information to IG, OG and SOG were shown to be influenced by ingroup projection. An integration of the goal type research and the memory approach showed that individuals with a minimal goal orientation perceive their IG as more prototypical for actual and ideal SOG and also show a stronger memory bias than individuals with a maximal goal orientation. The “explicit” measures of relative prototypicality and the more “indirect” memory bias were related to each other.


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Berthold, Annegret: Perceiving and remembering social groups. ingroup projection, goal types, and memory distortions. 2010.

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