We propose that when the intergroup context changes, the frame of reference for social comparison, the referential meaning of an identity, as well as the definition of group membership may also change. To test this proposal, we manipulated Hong Kong college students (N = 94 ) frame of reference for social comparison by having them read a narrative account of the Diaoyu Islands sovereignty dispute and then write an essay on the responsibility of either the Beijing government (Beijing condition) or the Japanese government ( Japan condition). Next, participants social identities and their intergroup attitude toward Mainland Chinese and Hongkongers were assessed. As predicted, in the Beijing condition, a Chinese vs Hongkonger identity was related to the preference for assimilation into the Chinese Mainlanders group, whereas social identity was unrelated to such preference in the Japan condition. The results implications for social identification processes during the political transition in Hong Kong were discussed.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Business and International Management
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science