Of bikers, teachers and Germans: groups diverging views about their prototypicality

Sven Waldzus, Amelie Mummendey, Michael Wenzel, Franziska Boettcher

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The in-group projection model hypothesizes that members of social groups generalize attributes of their in-group to a superordinate category that provides dimensions for comparisons between in-group and out-group (in-group projection). As a result, both groups in an intergroup situation should disagree about their relative prototypicality for the superordinate category. Three studies confirmed this prediction. In Study I (N = 54), it was found that different groups of motor bikers (chopper-bikers vs. sport-bikers) perceived their own subgroup to be the more typical biker group than the respective out-group. Study 2(N = 60) showed the same divergence of perspectives in the context of more formal subgroups of teachers (primary-school teachers vs. high-school teachers). In a third study (N = 157), the relative character of in-group projection was demonstrated in an intergroup context with strong reality constraints due to differences in group size, status and power. Although there was consensus between both groups that the majority (West Germans) was more prototypical of the superordinate group (Germans) than the minority (East Germans), majority members perceived the groups' difference in prototypicality to be greater than minority members did.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)385-400
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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