Evaluating the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Social Identity Theory

Decent Essays

This essay will be looking to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the social identity theory with studies to support.

The Social Identity theory (SIT) was proposed by Henry Tajfel. It was then later developed by Tajfel and Turner in 1971 to help them understand inter group relations. The Social Identity theory assumes that individuals strive to improve their self-image by trying to enhance their self-esteem, through social (in and out groups) and personal identities. There are 4 main concepts within the social identity theory all of which will be discussed in the essay.

One of these is Social categorization. Based on the name it is very self explanatory, with the social categorization there is the need to divide, …show more content…

Method A: Fans from large U.S. prestigious football universities were participants in a field experiment (in large lecture halls across 7 different schools) where they observed student clothing/apparel on a Monday following a big football game.

Results A: Students tended to wear more apparel associating themselves with their own university (e.g. jersey or sweatshirt) when the football team won compared to when they lost.

Method B: Based on these findings, researchers decided to call students and interview them about the performance of their schools football team following a game.

Results B:
People tended to use the pronoun "we" more to describe their team when they won and "they" more when the team had lost. The researchers were able to show that people tend to associate with positive others most closely when their own public image is threatened.

Conclusion: The study Demonstrated that people seek a positive social identity and that their social identity is affected by being a part of their group so that you are more positive towards anything that your own group represents.

The self-image of individuals was affected by their in-group in that the victory gave a sense of "positive- distinctiveness" for the group and therefore enhanced self-esteem. This supports the Social learning theory.

Intergroup behaviors

The Social

Get Access