Depersonalization is a concept developed by self-categorization theorist John Turner and his colleagues in the 1980s to refer to the process of thinking of the self at a particular time as a group member rather than as a unique individual. Depersonalization can be seen as a process of stereotyping, but unlike other forms of stereotyping related to perceiving other people as group members, it involves self-stereotyping. To put it another way, depersonalization is the transformation from thinking of oneself as “I” or “me” to “we” or “us.”

Self-categorization theorists believe that depersonalization underlies all group behavior, ranging from helping behavior to violent and brutal conduct such as genocide. It is argued that none of these phenomena is possible without people coming to see themselves as members ...

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