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“Knowing that we are the same as some people but different from others is a part of the way in which people form their identity.”
Outline findings from experimental social psychology and one other approach that would support this claim.

The concept of identity has been studied by many psychologists for over a century. Initially it appeared to be an uncomplicated notion, but closer examination has revealed a more complex issue.   Identity focuses on who we are, and the understanding of how we live and interact with others. This essay will give a summary of findings from experimental social psychology and the social constructionist approach which support the claim.

Following the horrendous persecution of Jews during the Second World War, many psychologists were inspired to study prejudice and interaction between opposing groups. One such psychologist was the European Jew Henri Tajfel (1919-82). Tajfel survived prisoner-of-war camps but tragically lost all his immediate family and the majority of his close friends during the Holocaust. During his studies, Tajfel outlined a distinction between social and personal identity. He expanded the concept of social, rather than individual, identity, and produced Social Identity Theory (SIT). The main idea behind this theory is that the social categories we organise ourselves into, encourages us to form our identities. For example, we may feel we fit into a middle-class category, or belong to a   group with other writers. The act of self-categorization provides us with labels for ourselves and with a set of appropriate attitudes and behaviours that can guide our actions. (Phoenix, 2007, p.63).

In the 1970's, Tajfel and his colleagues studied the way in which members of opposing groups behave towards each other. In one experiment teenage schoolboys were randomly grouped, but informed they had been categorised according to which artist they preferred. This experiment involved the boys allocating points, and revealed...