Social Groups and OrganizationsLabels and Out-GroupsSometimes we perceive a person to be a member of an out-group and interpret his or her behaviors very differently from our own. Men may think of another man who strives to succeed professionally as being “ambitious,” but they might label a woman who exhibits the same behaviors as being “pushy.” The members of a particular religious background might consider themselves “secure” in their beliefs but call members of another religion “self-righteous” for demonstrating similar levels of certainty in their respective religions.Identifying a group as an out-group can serve several functions. By pointing out a group that we are not part of, we increase our commitment to the groups of which we are members. If we claim that a particular out-group espouses beliefs that we disavow, we confirm our ideological compatibility with the groups to which we belong. By claiming that an out-group is bad, we are implying that, in comparison, our group is good.
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