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Keywords:

  • intergroup relationship;
  • stereotypes;
  • social communication;
  • politeness;
  • social identity

Abstract:  People communicate with each other about their ingroup and outgroup in a social context. These social communications may have profound effects in constructing intergroup relationships. In this paper, we outline how different combinations of the social identities of the sender, receiver, and target of the social communication may give rise to differing face concerns of the ingroup and outgroup, and may result in different patterns of communications about them. People may enhance or protect their ingroup social identity, and derogate the outgroup social identity to their ingroup audiences; however, they are more likely to enhance and protect their outgroup's social identity when communicating with outgroup audiences. Two studies tested these predictions. Study 1 used real groups of Australian and Asian students communicating about an Asian student in an Australian university context. In Study 2, participants assigned to two fictitious groups communicated about their ingroup and outgroup. In both studies, the findings were interpreted within the framework of intergroup communication, although there were some notable deviations from the predictions. Future directions of the research were also discussed.