The Role of Personality in Social Identity: Effects of Field-Dependence and Context on Reactions to Threat to Group Distinctiveness


  • We would like to thank Hananyah Glaubman for his contribution to the research on which this article is based. The Argentina Chair for Research on the Social Psychology of Conflict and Cooperation, the Kurt Lion Foundation, the Israel Foundations Trustees and the Koret Foundation supported the research and writing of this article.

concerning this article should be addressed either to Yonat Tamir, Ramat-Aviv Institute, 15 Brazil St., Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69460, Israel, or to Arie Nadler, Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, 69978, Israel; Email: or


ABSTRACT This article examines the role of personality dispositions as determinants of people's reactions to threats to social identity. It is argued that since individuals characterized as high field-dependents have a greater tendency to anchor their identity in the social group than low field-dependents, they will be more affected by threats to social identity, especially when the context is framed as an intergroup context. Threat to social identity was manipulated by inducing intergroup similarity, and intergroup differentiation was measured. The first experiment assessed the hypothesis with minimal groups. The second experiment assessed it with real groups (two rival schools). Findings provided support for the hypotheses. The discussion centers on the role of personality dispositions in the social identity perspective.