Social identity is a theory developed primarily by Henri Tajfel and John Turner to understand the psychological basis of intergroup discrimination and preference. The theory attempts to identify the conditions under which members of one group discriminate in favor of the in-group to which they belong and against other out-groups. There are four critical elements of this theory:

  • Categorization: We label ourselves (and others) into categories such as ethnic groups, hobbies, and so on, which helps stereotype these individuals.
  • Identification: We associate with specific groups (our in-groups), which helps to reassure our self-esteem.
  • Comparison: We compare our affiliated groups with others, typically biasing in favor of our groups.
  • Psychological Distinctiveness: We want our identity to be both distinct from and positively compared with other groups.

According to social identity theory, ...

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