Reducing Intergroup Bias: The Benefits of Recategorization

  • Gaertner S
  • Mann J
  • Murrell A
 et al. 
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Three hundred sixty undergraduates participated in small groups in an experiment that tested 2 strategies, based on the social categorization approach, for reducing intergroup bias. Both strategies involved recategorizing members' conceptual representations of the aggregate compared with a control condition designed to maintain initial group boundaries. The recategorization treatments induced members of 2 3-person groups to conceive of both memberships as 1 6-person group or as 6 separate individuals. The findings revealed that the one-group and separate-individuals conditions, as compared with the control condition, reduced intergroup bias. Furthermore, these recategorized conditions reduced bias in different ways consistent with M. B. Brewer's (see record 1979-25967-001) analysis and J. C. Turner's (1985) self-categorization theory. Specifically, the 1-group representation reduced bias primarily by increasing the attractiveness of former out-group members, whereas the separate-individuals representation primarily decreased the attractiveness of former in-group members. Implications for the utility of these strategies are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Samuel L. Gaertner

  • Jeffrey Mann

  • Audrey Murrell

  • John F. Dovidio

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