Relational to collective: Significant-other representations, ethnic categories, and intergroup perceptions

S. Adil Saribay, Susan M. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social perception is known to be affected by the social-cognitive process of transference-that is, by a new person bearing a minimal resemblance to a significant other, which activates the significant-other representation and indirectly the relational self. We examined relational processes in social identity and intergroup bias in two studies testing the dual hypothesis-that activating a significant-other representation in transference activates the significant other's ethnic category, which is then applied to the new person, and that under this circumstance the participant's own ethnic identity should also be activated as the relational self is activated, particularly if the participant shares the significant other's ethnicity. This should lead to shifts in intergroup bias as moderated by the ethnic diversity of the significant other's own social network. The evidence largely supports this, revealing the interplay of relational and collective levels of self.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1726
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Exemplar
  • Intergroup bias
  • Relational self
  • Significant other
  • Social identity
  • Transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Relational to collective: Significant-other representations, ethnic categories, and intergroup perceptions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this