Social identity theory, in social psychology, the study of the interplay between personal and social identities. Social identity theory aims to specify and predict the circumstances under which individuals think of themselves as individuals or as group members. The theory also considers the consequences of personal and social identities for individual perceptions and group behavior.
Key Takeaways: Social Identity Theory
- Social identity theory, introduced by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner in the 1970s, describes the cognitive processes related to social identity and how social identity impacts intergroup behavior.
- Social identity theory is built on three key cognitive components: social categorization, social identification, and social comparison.
- Generally, individuals wish to maintain a positive social identity by maintaining their group’s favorable social standing over that of relevant out-groups.
- In-group favoritism can result in negative and discriminatory outcomes, but research demonstrates that in-group favoritism and out-group discrimination are distinct phenomena, and one does not necessarily predict the other.