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Cross-Categorization

Categorization of people into “us” and “them” is a fundamental characteristic of how we perceive social groups. Sometimes, however, this simple dichotomization is not enough to fully capture the complexity of intergroup relations. Cross-categorization takes account of this complexity. Cross-categorization (or crossed categorization) describes intergroup contexts defined by not one but two dimensions of social categorization. Take, for example, age and race. Instead of comparing oneself with others just according to age (“I'm young, and they are old”) or just in terms of race (“I am White, and they are Black”), in cross-categorization contexts, both of these dimensions are salient and meaningful. In these situations, four possible social category combinations are each defined by two constituents: young and White, young and Black, old and White, ...

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