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Lecture 3

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McGill University
PSYC 331
Donald Taylor

LECTURE 3 FRANK PRESENTATION: What is a group? th January 14 , 2013 DEFINITION OF INTERGROUP RELATIONS  Any aspect of human interaction that involves individuals perceiving themselves as members of a social category, or being perceived by others as belonging to a social category o No mention of TYPE of group o No mention of shared motives QUESTION OF THE DAY  What qualifies as a psychologically meaningful social group o What definitive feature makes a social group a group? o What makes a social group functional for individual groups members? PAST DEFINITIONS: SOCIAL GROUP  American perspective o A group can be defined as two or more people who interact with each other and are interdependent, in the sense that their needs and goals cause them to influence each other  Interconnectedness and interrelated is at the heart of this definition  European perspective o A collection of more than two people who have the same social identity – they identify themselves in the same way and have the same definition of who they are, what attributes they have and how they relate to and differ from specific groups  They just need to have a shared identity in this definition THE GROUP MEMBER PROTOTYPE  Interrelated attributes  Capture similarities and differences between the groups  Prescribe group membership-related behaviors  Polarized away from out-group features o How different we are, what makes us special  Describe ideal, often hypothetical, ingroup members A PARADOX  Many of the characteristics that we think are distinctive to our groups are thought by people from other groups to be distinctive of their group as well o Daphna Oyserman (2007): “While socially based ingroup defining attributes feel distinct, they may or may not be different from attributes characterizing other groups”  The same problem applies to out-group defining characteristics  However, it is unlikely that it happens because of o Poorly defined cultures o There are no such thing as distinct cultural groups  In fact, people are willing to die to protect their culture SPOILER: THE MINIMALIST GROUP PARADIGM  Groups are made on the basis of an arbitrary characteristic  No one in the group gets to know any one else in the group  You have to give money to ingroup and outgroup members PRINCIPAL CATEGORIZING ATTRIBUTE (PCA)  Our defining characteristic  A single attribute that distinguishes the ingroup from the outgroup  Original attribute that allowed for categorization into distinct groups  It is what we associate all the other attributes of our group with  The attribute can be anything (both innate or arbitrary)  The P
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