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In-Group Bias

 

Explanations > Theories > In-Group Bias

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

If we believe that someone else is in a group to which we belong, we will have positive views of them and give them preferential treatment.

This works because we build our self-esteem through belonging, and the presence of someone from an in-group reminds us of that belonging.

The opposite of in-group bias is out-group bias where, by inference, out-group people are viewed more negatively and given worse treatment. This is the basis of racial inequality.

In-group linguistic bias is where out-group people are described in abstract terms (which depersonifies them) when they conform to the out-group stereotype. Out-group people will be referred to in more specific, concrete terms when they act in unexpected ways.

Research

Henri Tajfel visibly divided people in to random groups. They rapidly found in-group people preferable to out-group people, even finding rational arguments about how unpleasant and immoral the out-group people were.

Example

Watch children in the school yard. Notice how they form groups and how they treat those not in their gang.

So what?

Using it

Make yourself and the other person a part of the same group, and they will be biased towards you (and away from anyone you cast as out-group).

See also

Deindividuation, Out-Group Homogeneity, Minimum Group Theory, Scapegoat Theory, Stereotypes, Linguistic Inter-group Bias

References

Tajfel (1982), Maas and Acuri (1996)

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