References: Episode 1

Brewer, M. B. (1991)

The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 475– 482.

ABSTRACT: Most of social psychology’s theories of the self fail to take into account the significance of social identification in the definition of self. Social identities are self-definitions that are more inclusive than the individuated self-concept of most American psychology. A model of optimal distinctiveness is proposed in which social identity is viewed as a reconciliation of opposing needs for assimilation and differentiation from others. According to this model, individuals avoid self-construals that are either too personalized or too inclusive and instead define themselves in terms of distinctive category memberships. Social identity and group loyalty are hypothesized to be strongest for those self-categorizations that simultaneously provide for a sense of belonging and a sense of distinctiveness. Results from an initial laboratory experiment support the prediction that depersonalization and group size interact as determinants of the strength of social identification.

Byrne, D. E. (1971)

The attraction paradigm. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

EXCERPT: Similarity/attraction theory posits that people like and are attracted to others who are similar, rather than dissimilar, to themselves; “birds of a feather,” the adage goes, “flock together.” Social scientific research has provided considerable support for tenets of the theory since the mid-1900s. Researchers from a variety of fields such as marketing, political science, social psychology, and sociology have contributed to and gleaned information from empirical tests of similarity/attraction theory. The theory provides a parsimonious explanatory and predictive framework for examining how and why people are attracted to and influenced by others in their social worlds. (

Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986)

The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations: 7–24. Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall Publishers.

ABSTRACT: The aim of this chapter is to present an outline of a theory of intergroup conflict and some preliminary data relating to the theory. It begins with a discussion of alternative approaches to intergroup conflict with special attention to the “realistic group conflict theory” (RCT). RCT’s relative neglect of the processes underlying the development and maintenance of group identity and the possibly autonomous effects upon the in-group and intergroup behavior is responsible for some inconsistencies between the empirical data and the theory in its “classical” form. In this sense, the theoretical orientation to be outlined in this chapter is intended not to replace RCT, but to supplement it in some respects that seem essential for an adequate social psychology of intergroup conflict–particularly as the understanding of the psychological aspects of social change cannot be achieved without an appropriate analysis of the social psychology of social conflict. The authors argue that people derive a sense of self-worth and social belongingness from their memberships in groups, and so they are motivated to draw favorable comparisons between their own group and other groups. (

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