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Determinants of perceived consistency: the relationship between group entitativity and the meaningfulness of categories

McGarty, C., Haslam, S.A., Hutchinson, K.J. and Grace, D.M. (1995) Determinants of perceived consistency: the relationship between group entitativity and the meaningfulness of categories. British Journal of Social Psychology, 34 . pp. 237-256.

Abstract

The concept of entitativity was developed by Campbell (1958) to refer to the extent to which a group is perceived as a coherent whole or entity. This concept is relevant to research in both social perception (e.g. the categorization effects approach to the study of social stereotyping) and social influence (e.g. the consistency attributed to minority groups in theories of minority influence). On the basis of previous research, four variables were expected to play a role in group entitativity judgements. These were intra-group variability, group size, diversity (or variety) and extremity. In two empirical studies it was found that entitativity decreased as variability and diversity increased and that it increased with group size. These effects and interactions between group size and extremity, size and diversity, and variability and extremity are consistent with the idea that entitativity is a function of how meaningful a stimulus pattern is. This is in turn (in part) a function of how unlikely the pattern is.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology
Publisher: The British Psychological Society
Copyright: The British Psychological Society
Publishers Website: http://www.bps.org.uk/home-page.cfm
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/3182
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