What are In-Groups and Out-Groups?

The terms “in-group” and “out-group” are social science terms, in this context:

An “in-group” is a group you are part of (genetically, culturally, or ideologically), while an “out-group” is a group you aren’t part of. So, in other words, we are looking at how people identify with groups, and how groups identify with people. This matters greatly, as a lot of our hardwiring and softwiring, and our bias is rooted in how we identify, or don’t identify, with groups (or how groups do or don’t identify with us).[1][2]

Typically the terms “in-group and out-group” denote “a social group with which a person psychologically identifies as being a member, or not a member” (although, in cases of perception and genetics, the choice is not always wholly by the individual). For instance, I (as a white male) have a long road ahead of me to become a leader of a feminist centered Black Lives Matter group, regardless of how I identify with that groups. So this is a statement of belonging that isn’t defined by personal identity alone.

Human Nature – Ingroup vs Outgroup. Paul Bloom discusses in-groups and out-groups, us and them, and the science of bias and prejudice.

TIP: Think terms like “me versus you” and “us versus them”, we are talking about these concepts through the lens of social science and neurology.

TIP: What is correct behavior changes by what your in-group and out-group is, and what group you are communicating with (this is something that trips people up when trying to understand “politically correct“). For example, in the LGBT community the acronym LGBTQ may be used, outside of the community, the acronym LGBT is proper. A group of black people may use particular colloquialisms when speaking with each other, but a radio host will lose their job over saying the same things (even in a joking manner). These are just small indications of the power of “ingroup versus outgroup”.

In-Group Versus Out-Group

Why are In-Groups and Out-Groups Important?

In-groups and out-groups are particularly important to the social sciences where a lot of nature- and nurture-based psychology ends up being directly related to in-group and out-group affiliation. This is specifically important when talking about bias, because many biases are based on psychological attitudes toward groups we are or aren’t a part of. The most famous of these biases is the set of familiar prejudice and discrimination related biases.

In the simplest of cases, the fundamental dualities of life tend to manifest as psychological affinities for or against groups. Thus, the social dynamics of group psychology is a vital area of study for many fields, and in many respects.

The concept is simple, but the implications are vast. We often reference in-groups and out-groups on the site; now you know what we are talking about.

When ‘I’ Becomes ‘We’ | Mina Cikara | TEDxCambridge. Learn more about Mina Cikara.

Learn more about Ingroups and Outgroups from Wikipedia.

Us vs. Them: Ingroup vs. Outgroup Psychology (BO1 & Ghosts Gameplay). Social Science plus Call of Duty, finally (an oddly amazing video in many respects).

TIP: Children are born both naturally selfish and compassionate. This hardwired bias relates directly to the concept of in-group out-group. This is one of the countless examples of why identity and groups are important to research and understand.

Prejudice & Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39. Group dynamics from the lens of the psychology of prejudice and discrimination.

Citations

  1. Ingroups and outgroups” Wikipedia.org
  2. In-groups, out-groups, and the psychology of crowds” Psychologytoday.com


"In-groups and Out-groups Explained" is tagged with: Bias, Equality, Left–right Politics, Politically Correct

What do you think?