Examining the preconditions for psychological group membership: Perceived social interdependence as the outcome of self-categorization

Michael Platow, Diana Grace, Mike Smithson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


A fundamental question of social psychology centers on the nature and definition of social groups. The authors address this question by examining preconditions of psychological group membership. Participants were either socially categorized into minimal groups or had their personal identities made salient. They then responded to a series of measures designed to generate a perceived 2 × 2 outcome matrix. Following Thibaut and Kelley’s interdependence theory, participants' outcome matrices were decomposed to identify potential patterns of independence, dependence, and interdependence. Perceived interdependence emerged under social categorization but not personal identity salience conditions. These data demonstrate that perceived interdependence can be an outcome of social categorization. Social categorization can, thus, be understood to be the minimal requirement for psychological group formation, even if one sees interdependence as the essential defining feature of social groups
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-13
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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