Exclusion as self-protection: The function of subtypes for ingroup members.

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Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin


subtyping, subgrouping, ingroups, social comparison, motivated reasoning


Three studies examined the consequences of subtyping ingroup members for evaluations of the self. The first study examined the impact of subtyping high-performing or low-performing ingroup members on self-evaluations. Study 2 employed an alternative manipulation of subtyping. Given the observed benefits of subtyping low-performing ingroup members for the group and the benefits of subtyping high-performing ingroup members for the self, Study 3 investigated participants’ subtyping target selection (i.e., high-performing vs. low-performing ingroup members) when the focus of the sorting task was on self-evaluations or group evaluations. In sum, these studies suggest that subtyping ingroup members can serve a self-protective function.