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Chameleonic social identities: Context induces shifts in homosexuals' self-stereotyping and self-categorization


Correspondence to: Mara Cadinu, Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione, Università di Padova, Via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, Italy.



Do people align their self-concepts to the environment? It was predicted that low-status (homosexuals), but not high-status group members (heterosexuals), respond to environmental cues by shifting the type of self-categorization and self-stereotyping. In the presence (vs. absence) of environmental cues to sexual orientation, homosexual individuals felt more talented for typically homosexual jobs and showed greater self-stereotyping on typically homosexual traits (Experiment 1). Using implicit measures of self-categorization and self-stereotyping, we observed parallel findings for homosexuals, but not for heterosexuals (Experiment 2). Results are discussed in relation to research on stigma, with particular attention to the potential benefits for low-status group members of changing their implicit self-concept flexibly across situations. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.