The function of vertical and horizontal space to social group identity

Sarah Ariel Lamer, Caterina Suitner, Anne Maass, Rosa Caccioppoli, Halley Pradell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Where an object or person is located in space can communicate important attributes, such as power, agency, or status. We theorized that people may use location to convey messages about social groups. In four studies, we examined whether women and men express ingroup bias or stereotypical bias in their placement of and memory for gendered objects. In Study 1, participants placed objects symbolizing their ingroup higher but not further left than objects symbolizing their outgroup. Vertical ingroup-bias emerged consistently in spatial placement (Studies 2 and 4) but not spatial memory (Studies 3 and 4). We discuss the influence of gender identity, the role of automaticity, and the value of vertical versus horizontal spatial location in communicating group bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalSelf and Identity
StatePublished - 2020


  • gender identity
  • ingroup bias
  • spatial agency bias
  • Vertical location

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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