Social identity: The cause of distinction between group-reference and self-reference effects

Zhijun Liu1, Lin Wu2, Chunna Hou3
1School of Philosophy and Sociology, and Department of Psychology , Jilin University and Qiqihar University, People’s Republic of China
2School of Philosophy and Sociology, Jilin University, People’s Republic of China
3School of Philosophy and Sociology, and Department of Psychology, Jilin University and Qiqihar University, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Liu, Z., Wu, L., & Hou, C. (2015). Social identity: The cause of distinction between group-reference and self-reference effects. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 43, 1409-1418.

Volume 43 Issue 9 | e4833 | Published: October 2015 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2015.43.9.1409

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We used a subliminal priming procedure to explore whether or not the intensity of identity salience facilitates the advantage of memory in distinguishing between the strength of the group-reference effect and that of the self-reference effect. In Experiment 1 (N = 124), participants were primed with in-group, out-group, or combined salience conditions before encoding adjectives with reference to the in-group and out-group, and were then subsequently given a surprise free-recall test. These results showed that the intensity of social identity could predict the memory advantage of group-reference tasks; moreover, the memory effect of group-reference tasks was strongest in the combined salience condition compared with in-group or out-group salience alone. In Experiment 2 (N = 81), we used different referential conditions and found that the intensity of social identity changed with identity salience and was a possible cause of differences between the intensity of the group-reference effect and that of the self-reference effect.

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