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Social Categorization

Definition

Social categorization refers to the way a person's mind clusters together individuals who share important characteristics. A person mentally groups people on the basis of their demographic features (e.g., sex, age, ethnicity, or religion), personality and interests (e.g., extraverts, nerds), and occupation, to name some of the most common types of social categories. This process has several important functions. It provides a person with a way to organize and structure his or her understanding of the social world. For each meaningful social category, a person is likely to have some preconceptions about what members of the category are like. Rather than having to start from scratch in figuring other people out, a person often identifies the groups they belong to and then makes some starting ...

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