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On the consequences of deindividuation manipulations for the strategic communication of the self: identifiability and the presentation of social identity.

Reicher, S. and Levine, M. (1994) On the consequences of deindividuation manipulations for the strategic communication of the self: identifiability and the presentation of social identity. European Journal of Social Psychology, 24 (4). pp. 511-524.

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Abstract

According to traditional models of deindividuation, lowered personal identifiability leads to a loss of identity and a loss of internalized control over behaviour This account has been challenged by arguing that manipulations of identifiability affect the relative salience of personal or social identity and hence the choice of standards to control behaviour The present study contributes to an extension of this argument according to which identifiability manipulations do not only affect the salience of social identity but also the strategic communication of social identity. Reicher and Lvine (1993) have shown that subjects who are more identifiable to a powerful outgroup will moderate the expression of those aspects of ingroup identity which differ from the outgroup position and which would be punished by the outgroup. Here we seek to show that in addition, subjects who are more identifiable to a powerful outgroup will accentuate the expression of those aspects of ingroup identity which differ from the outgroup position but which would not be punished by the outgroup. This is because, when identifiable, subjects may use such responses as a means of publicly presenting their adherence to group norms and hence as a means of establishing their right to group membership. A study is reported in which 102 physical education students are either identifiable (I) or not identifiable (NI) to their academic tutors. They are asked to respond on a number of dimensions where pilot interviews show the ingroup stereotype to differ from outgroup norms. Expressions of difference from the outgroup position would lead to punishment on some of these dimensions (P items) but would not lead to punishment for others (NP items) The predicted interaction between identifiability and item type is highly significant. As expected, for NP items identifiability accentuates responses which differentiate the ingroup stereotype from outgroup norms. All these results occur independently of shifts in the salience of social identity. The one unexpectedfinding is that, for P items, identifiability does lead to decreased expression of the ingroup stereotype, but the diference does not reach significance. Nonetheless, overall the results do provide further evidence for the complex effects of identifiability on strategic considerations underlying the expression of social identity in intergroup contexts.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Social Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
ID Code: 19046
Deposited By: ep_ss_importer
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2008 09:25
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 15:25
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/19046

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