This article examines inductive processes of social identity formation, the bottom-up processes by which individual group members influence a social identity, integrating it with work on entitativity. Three studies tested the prediction that feelings of individual distinctiveness mediate the relation between inductive social identity formation and entitativity and that entitativity in turn predicts identification. The studies provided consistent support for this theoretical model over alternative models, using a range of different social groups and methods. Study 1 found support for the model in self-selected small groups. Study 2 supported it with a much broader set of groups that were not self-selected. Finally, Study 3 varied levels of inductive social identity formation systematically by varying group size and provided direct support for the hypothesized causal relations.
- individual distinctiveness
- social identity formation