How a common enemy reduces categorization in person perception
A common enemy unites people who identify as members of distinct groups or communities. This happens already at an early automatic stage of social perception. We perceive men and women, White and Black people, Germans and Turks less as members of these categories when they are threatened by a common enemy. In this project, we investigate the processes that may underlie this effect. Do we perceive these category members as more alike as their opposition to the same enemy becomes their defining feature? Do members of these categories begin to like each other more because "the enemy of my enemy" is always "my friend"? Or do members of these categories simply seem more similar because an enemy enters the picture that is much more different from both categories than they are from each other? We investigate these questions by means of quantitative laboratory experiments.
The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)