Why "our" policies set the standard more than "theirs": Category norms and generalization between European Union countries

Hegarty, P. and Chryssochoou, X. (2005). Why "our" policies set the standard more than "theirs": Category norms and generalization between European Union countries. Social Cognition, 23(6) 491 - 528.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.2005.23.6.491

Abstract

Five experiments examined how 333 British participants used representations of the category "EU countries," to judge similarities, reason about generalization, and explain differences between EU countries. EU countries vary in their prototypicality and the in-group (Britain) is distinctive (Experiment 1). Prototypicality affects preferences for statements about similarity between countries (Experiment 2). However, when generalizing a policy study between countries, category norms that included the policy's home country were formed, rendering that country's distinctive attributes implicit. Consequently participants generalized less to their distinctive in-group than from it, considered their in-group and the out-groups to be more similar when the policy's home country was their in-group rather than an out-group (Experiments 3a and 3b), and rarely mentioned attributes of the policy's home country while explaining differences between countries (Experiment 4). Country prototypicality had no effect on reasoning about generalization. We discuss how category norms can engender ethnocentrism at a cognitive level.

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