Sample Exam Questions for "Social Influence, Social Identity and Self Categorization"

Last updated:
07 Nov 2005


  1. What are the differences and similarities between Social Identity Theory and Self-Categorisation Theory?
  2. What is Social Identity Theory?
  3. What is Self-Categorisation Theory?
  4. Describe (using an example) one strategy a low status group might employ to achieve a positive social identity.
  5. Describe Tajfel's minimal group experiments in the 1970s about and what was found.
  6. How can the re-categorisation of group boundaries lead to a reduction in prejudice between groups?  Include an example.

Multiple choice

Social Influence

* Note that sample Social Influence exam questions are in the section on Leadership.

Social Identity

In a study using the minimal group paradigm (Tajfel et al., 1971) :

a. the groups were created on the basis of a flimsy criterion
b. the group members had no past history or possible future
c. the participants did not know the identity of other group members
d. all of the above
e. none of the above

Which of the following is the LEAST closely related to a classic social identity study by Tajfel in the early 1970's:
a. minimal intergroup situation
b. in-group favourtism
c. social influence
d. self categorisation theory
e. intergroup discrimination

Membership groups and reference groups:

a. are different for a person
b. can overlap for a person, but not necessarily
c. have to overlap
d. are the same
e. never overlap

Roles in groups are_________________________.

a. scripted performances
b. distinguishable, prescribed patterns of behaviour
c. expected behaviours
d. unexpected behaviours
e. defined in an ad hoc fashion

Social identity theory posits that an underlying motivation for individuals is the enhancement of their _______________.

a. self-esteem
b. status
c. rank
d. range of group memberships
e. group's identity

Which of the following multimedia texts utilised basic principles used in the minimal group paradigm:

a. "Global Brain"
b. "The Australian Eye"
c. "Ghosts of Rwanda"
d. "Social Disengagement: A Breeding Ground for Fundamentalism"

Low status groups are most likely to adopt a strategy of social creativity to improve their social identity when:

a. they believe group boundaries are permeable
b. they believe the status differentials between groups are stable
c. they believe the status differentials between groups are unstable
d. believe the status differentials between groups are illegitimate
e. they feel threatened by another group

De-individuation refers to a ___________________________.

a. process whereby the personality become fragmented
b. process of reduced awareness
c. process of loss of control of bodily functions
d. dissociated personality state
e. process whereby people lose their sense of socialised individual identity

According to Tajfel (1978), __________ determine where one's behavior lies along the continuum between interpersonal and intergroup.

a. social change beliefs
b. individual change beliefs
c. social self-concept
d. social identity

Tajfel and Turner (1979) argued that individual mobility is most likely to be pursued when a group has:

a. relatively high status and group boundaries are perceived to be permeable
b. relatively low status and group boundaries are perceived to be permeable
c. relatively high status and group boundaries are perceived to be impermeable
d. relatively low status and group boundaries are perceived to be permeable

According to Tajfel and Turner (1979), _____________ are strategies associated with a social change belief system that are intended to improve the negative or maintain the positive conditions of one's ingroup.

a. social influence and social competition
b. outgroup polarisation and social influence
c. social creativity and social competition
d. social mobility and social creativity

In a test of the _______________ conducted as part of a survey study of intergroup attitudes among ethnic groups in East Africa,
Brewer and Campbell (1976) found that 27 out of 30 ethnic groups rated themselves as more positive on these traits than any of 29 outgroups.

a. universal stereotype
b. difference between ingroup and outgroup schemas
c. cultural-specific aspects of ethnocentrism
d. prejudicial nature of ingroup versus outgroup perceptions|
e. none of the above

According to a study by Taylor and Brown (1988), individuals with _______ self-esteem display the most ingroup favouritism when there is a threat to their self-esteem.

a. average
b. high
c. low
d. unstable
e. stable

Self Categorization Theory

An advantage of self categorisation theory (SCT) over social identity theory is SCT's focus on understanding the _________ of group memberships.

a. meaning
b. fluid nature
c. salience
d. paradoxical
e. psychodynamic aspects

According to self categorisation theory, perceptions of __________ and __________ are the most important outcomes of the categorization process.

a. similarity; difference
b. liking; not liking
c. trust; empathy
d. cooperation; competition
e. stability; cohesion

The mere fact of being categorised as a group member seems to be the necessary and sufficient condition to produce _______________.

a. ethnocentrism and competitive intergroup behaviour
b. harmonious intergroup behaviour
c. group solidarity
d. altruism
e. pro-social behaviour

Self-categorisation theory is an extension of ________________________.

a. social competition theory
b. social augmentation theory
c. social mobility belief system theory
d. emergent norm theory
e. social identity theory

According to the outgroup homogeneity effect:

a. outgroups often stick together
b. we see outgroup members as being all alike
c. we see ingroup members as being all alike
d. we see outgroup members as distinctive
e. both b and c

According to self-categorisation theory, polarisation in a discussion group can arise when members:

a. construct an ingroup norm which diverges from a norm thought to be held by an outgroup
b. lose touch with reality
c. categorise themselves as superior decision makers to other people
d. experience a temporary shift in self esteem
e. are exposed to novel arguments

A group which guides your action is a (n)__________ group, whereas one to which you belong is a __________ group.

a. reference; membership
b. outgroup; membership
c. positive reference; kin
d. ad hoc; kin
e. membership; reference

_________________ is associated with increases in the perceived __________ of outgroups and in consensus among the ingroup.

a. More complex discussion among group members; homogeneity
b. More complex discussion among group members; heterogeneity
c. Heightened salience of group memberships; homogeneity
d. Heightened salience of group memberships; heterogeneity

Tajfel and Turner (1979) identify three variables whose contribution to the emergence of ingroup favouritism is particularly important. Choose the answer which was NOT identified by Tajfel and Turner:

a. the extent to which individuals identify with an ingroup and internalize that group membership as an aspect of their self-concept
b. the extent to which the prevailing context provides ground for comparison between groups
c. the perceived relevance of the comparison outgroup, which itself will be shaped by the relative and absolute status of the ingroup
d. the past shared history of the group members

A major tenet of the realistic conflict theory of intergroup behaviour is that:

a. groups will co-operate if they are given the opportunity for contact with each other
b. categorisation into different groups lead to intergroup conflict
c. the nature of intergroup relations is determined by the nature of the goal relations
d. the mere existence of an outgroup is enough to lead to intergroup conflict

According to social identity theory, under conditions of ___________ members of lower status groups will tend to prefer membership in the higher status outgroup and seek as a strategy for improving positive social identity (van Knippenberg and Ellemers 1993).
a. high permeability; social mobility
b. high permeability; social creativity
c. low permeability; social mobility
d. low permeability; social creativity

Discrimination that favors an outgroup over the ingroup is particularly interesting because it seems to violate the universality of ethnocentric bias and the drive for ________________ (Hinkle & Brown 1990).

a. salient perceptions of superiority
b. self-esteem
c. ingroup salience
d. positive distinctiveness
e. ingroup differentiation

In reviewing the options available to members of low status social categories, Tajfel and Turner (1986) distinguished three different avenues of responding. Choose the response which was NOT suggested by Turner.
a. individual mobility
b. social creativity
c. social competition
d. re-categorisation