Us and them: Memory advantages in perceptually ambiguous groups

Nicholas O. Rule, Nalini Ambady, Reginald B. Adams, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Ingroup advantages and outgroup deficits in perception and memory are well-established in research on race, gender, and other ostensibly identifiable social categories. The present study extended this research to a social category that is not as perceptually apparent: male sexual orientation. Consistent with hypotheses, an interaction of participant sexual orientation and image sexual orientation revealed an ingroup enhancement and outgroup deficit for memory of faces that participants perceived-both accurately and inaccurately-as belonging to either their ingroup or outgroup in a subsequent task. Additionally, parallel effects were found for the accurate identification of sexual orientation-a finding consistent with previous literature. The present data highlight the importance of social categorization for subsequent memory and suggest that the underlying cognitive machinery responsible for the recognition of groups may be co-opted for other relevant social applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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