Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Similarity: Similarity is the conformity of one or more - but not all - properties of two or more objects. See also Identity, Equality, Properties, Predicates, Predication, Identification, Descriptions.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Psychological Theories on Similarity - Dictionary of Arguments

Haslam I 172
Similarity/similarity attraction principles/psychological theories: an alternative interpretation of [Tajfel’s] minimal ingroup bias (>Minimal group/Tajfel
, >Group behavior/Tajfel, >Social identity theory/Tajfel; Tajfel 1971(1)) was that, rather than categorization (>Categorization/Tajfel) driving discrimination, this was simply caused by participants’ perception that other ingroup members were similar to themselves. This meshed with belief-congruence theory (Rokeach, 1969)(2) and similarity-attraction principles, which suggest that we are prone to dislike others (and by extension other groups) who have different views and values to our own. (RokeachVsTajfel).
Could ingroup favouritism therefore be explained by the assumed similarity with those in the ingroup (and dissimilarity with those in the outgroup)? This explanation does not necessarily invalidate the effect of social categorization (as Tajfel’s own work had shown, categorization can indeed lead people to accentuate similarities within categories and differences between them). However, it does point to a different mechanism.
A study by Michael Diehl (1989)(3) that (…) manipulated similarity at the group level actually found greater discrimination towards a similar outgroup. This contradicts belief-congruence principles and supports the idea that outgroup similarity might actually threaten group distinctiveness and motivate greater positive differentiation (Tajfel, 1982)(4).

1. Tajfel, H., Flament, C., Billig, M.G. and Bundy, R.F. (1971) ‘Social categorization and intergroup behaviour’, European Journal of Social Psychology, 1: 149–77.
2. Rokeach, M. (1969) Beliefs, Attitudes and Values. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
3. Diehl, M. (1989) ‘Justice and discrimination between minimal groups: The limits of equity’, British Journal of Social Psychology, 28: 227–38.
4. Tajfel, H. (1982) ‘Social psychology of intergroup relations’, Annual Review of Psychology, 33: 1–39.

Russell Spears and Sabine Otten,“Discrimination. Revisiting Tajfel’s minimal group studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017

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