Out-group Homogeneity Effect

Nov 22 / Network Capital
Each individual is product of multiple interests, identities and beliefs. Never stereotype or categorize people based on just one of these aspects.

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Till the 17th century, individual human identity was largely interchangeable with community (group) identity. This was due to the fact that the idea of an individual self was unknown, and membership to communities was restricted. Each human was a part one community or tribe which defined their identity. This helped one community understand the other community, and build ties and relationships based on the understanding.

As ideas of liberty, individualism and freedom grew, group dynamics changed. The original celebration of homogeneous groups was replaced by the celebration of diversity within groups. Instead of focusing on the shared commonality, groups now cherish the uniqueness of its members. Therefore, in the last three centuries we have seen a compete change in in-group dynamics. Yet out-group understandings remain the same, that is, we still see other groups as homogenous entities. This is what social psychologists call the ‘Out-group Homogeneity Effect’.

Out-group Homogeneity Effect is now a popular form of cognitive bias. In our globalized modern society, human interests and iden- tities are dynamic. They change across time and space. Therefore, the historically productive practice of stereotyping and ascribing group identities to individuals is now redundant. Rather modern groups are extremely complex and conflicting. Stereotyping leads to a defunct understanding of social relations and group dynamics.
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