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Social Identity, Self-awareness and Intergroup Behaviour

Abrams, Dominic (1984) Social Identity, Self-awareness and Intergroup Behaviour. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (KAR id:60565)

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Self-awareness theory and social identity theory both concern the impact of the self-concept on behaviour. Self-awareness theory addresses the process of individual self-regulation in terms of private and public standards. Self-focused attention increases the influence of these standards. Social identity theory presumes that the self can be designed in term s of social category membership. Intergroup behaviour ensues when these social identifications are salient. It is theorised that the public/private self-focus and social/personal identity distinctions are orthogonal. Focus on the private aspects of self may include a social identification and lead to intergroup behaviour.

Fenigstein, Scheier and Buss' (1975) Self-Consciousness Scale is assessed and discriminates reliably between private and public self-consciousness. The first experiments reveal no impact of self-awareness manipulations on intergroup ratings. In the next experiment, increased attention to social categorisation raises the amount and consistency of discrimination. The finding that private, but not public, self-focus reinforces social identification under relevant conditions also emerges in the next study.

Different standards for 'public' behaviour may prevail when different audiences observe, and 'private' standards may depend on identification with the group. In an experiment testing these propositions identification is accurately reflected only to an ingroup audience - a result which is replicated. In the final experiment, video feedback with an ingroup audience minimises, wheras that without maximises, ingroup bias, due to variations in the impact of different aspects of identity. Ingroup bias reflects identification only when private self-consciousness is high or public self-consciousness is low. Across experiments self-esteem reliably affects intergroup behaviour, and referent informational, rather than normative, influence predominates.

The social identification and self-awareness approaches are each enriched by the other. A model of identitifaction in group contexts and the view that behaviour may serve self-preserving motives are proposed. The conceptual and empirical ambiguity between 'salience' and 'attention' remain to be resolved.

These cognitive factors in intergroup behaviour may not have simple effects because other, social, factors, exert influences to alter their impact.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Emily Fell
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 15:25 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Abrams, Dominic:
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