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Abstract

The present paper investigates how cognitive projection processes instigate social identification. We complement the classical self-stereotyping approach (i.e., conforming to prototypical group norms) by investigating self-anchoring (i.e., projection from self to group) as a distinct cognitive route to social identification. Self-anchoring has mainly been investigated as predictor of intergroup differentiation. Surprisingly, no reliable link has been provided yet between self-anchoring and social identification. In Study 1, we provide first evidence for this positive link. In Study 2, we add self-stereotyping to our model and show that self-anchoring is still positively related to social identification when controlling for self-stereotyping. Additionally, we show that self-anchoring is positively related to affective components of identification, while self-stereotyping is positively related to cognitive components. Moreover, we examined the impact of self-concept stability on self-anchoring. Self-concept stability was positively related to self-anchoring, and hence to social identification (Study 1), independently from self-stereotyping (Study 2). In the discussion, we argue that disentangling self-anchoring from self-stereotyping is important as it increases our insight in how people identify, and how this may vary depending on self-concept and group context. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.