Protecting the ingroup stereotype: Ingroup identification and the management of deviant ingroup members


Department of Psychology, Keynes College, The University of Kent at Canterbury, Canterbury CT2 7NP, UK (e-mail:


In two experiments, we investigated the impact of the presentation of a deviant ingroup member on the perception of the ingroup among participants who differed in their degree of identification with the ingroup. In Study 1, we measured psychology students' level of identification with the group of psychologists (i.e. the ingroup) and presented them with an anti-norm versus a pro-norm psychologist. Results showed that in the anti-norm condition (but not in the pre-norm condition), identification predicted the ratings of psychologists as a group and the perception of typicality of the deviant psychologist. Also, in this condition, the impact of the level of identification on the ratings of psychologists proved to be mediated by the perceived typicality of the deviant. In Study 2, group measures were taken both before and after presentation of a deviant among members of an environmentalist group who differed in their level of identification with the ingroup. The level of identification had an impact on the modification of the ratings of environmentalists as a group, and this effect was mediated by the perceived typicality of the deviant environmentalist. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the black sheep effect and the stereotype change literature.