Two experiments explored the differential information processing that occurs when perceivers encounter multiple categorizable individuals. Participants were required to recall specific information from previously encountered bogus newspaper stories. Across two experiments it emerged that participants differentially recalled target attributes as a function of positive versus negative story context and multiple dimensions of group membership. Specifically, different dimensions of categorization were dominant for positive and negative evaluative domains. These findings provide an important qualification to the positive–negative asymmetry effect in intergroup discrimination when multiple dimensions of categorization are available. In addition, comparison of the observed effects in different cultural settings suggests the need to consider contextual influences when considering intergroup phenomena with real social group memberships. Finally, in line with previous work, a dissociation was observed between explicit and implicit measures of intergroup bias. The findings are considered within the wider context of work into social categorization and intergroup relations.. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.