Psychological group memberships as outcomes of resource distributions
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2008
Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 38, Issue 5, pages 836–851, August 2008
How to Cite
Platow, M. J., Grace, D. M., Wilson, N., Burton, D. and Wilson, A. (2008), Psychological group memberships as outcomes of resource distributions. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 38: 836–851. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.489
- Issue published online: 18 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 OCT 2007
- Manuscript Received: 22 AUG 2006
- Australian Research Council. Grant Number: A00000970
We propose that people can and will infer group memberships from resource distributions, and that these distributions have implications for people's understandings of the groups themselves and their own associations with these groups. We derive hypotheses from social identity and self-categorization theories, and test them in three experiments. In Experiment 1, participants systematically rated specific patterns of group memberships as more likely than others in light of specific resource distributions in a manner consistent with our predictions. In Experiment 2, intragroup distributive fairness led to greater perceived self-in-group similarity than intra-group distributive unfairness, while distributively unfair, in-group favouritism led to greater perceived self-in-group similarity than intergroup fairness. In Experiment 3, social identification dropped following unfair, out-group favouritism and intragroup unfairness, but not unfair, in-group favouritism, or intragroup and intergroup fairness. The current data provide support for our hypotheses and clear evidence that resource distributions can be providers of group membership information. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.