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We tested the hypothesis that evaluative bias in common ingroup contexts versus crossed categorization contexts can be associated with two distinct underlying processes. We reasoned that in common ingroup contexts, self-categorization, but not perceived complexity, would be positively related to intergroup bias. In contrast, in crossed categorization contexts, perceived complexity, but not self-categorization, would be negatively related to intergroup bias. In two studies, and in line with predictions, we found that while self-categorization and intergroup bias were related in common ingroup contexts, this was not the case in crossed categorization contexts. Moreover, we found that perceived category complexity, and not self-categorization, predicted bias in crossed categorization contexts. We discuss the implications of these findings for models of social categorization and intergroup bias. © 2010 American Psychological Association.

Original publication




Journal article


Group Dynamics

Publication Date





32 - 46