Like Me or Like Us: Is Ingroup Projection Just Social Projection?

Exp Psychol. 2009;56(3):198-205. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169.56.3.198.


Research has shown abundant evidence for social projection, that is, the tendency to expect similarity between oneself and others (Krueger, 1998a, 1998b). This effect is stronger when others constitute an ingroup instead of an outgroup (Robbins & Krueger, 2005). A different line of research has shown evidence for ingroup projection, that is, the tendency to use ingroup instead of outgroup features to define an inclusive category (Wenzel, Mummendey, Weber, & Waldzus, 2003). In this research, we examine whether ingroup (i.e., Germans) projection to an inclusive category (i.e., Europeans) is different from the projection of self-attributes to the same inclusive category. In two studies, German participants rated how typical a series of attributes was for the ingroup, an inclusive category, the self, and an outgroup (i.e., Italians). The attributes varied in their relevance to the groups under consideration. The results showed that ingroup projection is stronger than social projection, but only when typical ingroup attributes are concerned. Moreover, ingroup projection weakened when the image of the ingroup was manipulated to be less positive, while social projection remained stable. These findings imply that ingroup projection is not simply social projection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Projection*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Conformity*
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Perception*
  • Young Adult