Individuals react to a variety of social cues to construct their personal realities. These cues include social categorization. Are social categories a valid basis for the construction of personal reality? Why or why not? How might the misinterpretation of social categorization cues lead to errant self-categorization and falsely shape the personal reality of the individual?

Social categorization refers to putting people into groups. Then an individual decides which group or groups they fit into based on numerous physical, mental, social, and emotional factors. Social categories are not always a valid basis for personal reality. Many times the inferences about a certain category are inaccurate. The more ridged the belief about a certain group is the more inaccurate the inference about the group it may be. If the belief about a group is more fluid, the individual holding the belief is willing to change their opinion of the categorized group based on experience. This can lead to more accurate inferences (Amar Amar et al., 2015). Along with rigid beliefs comes a negative attitude towards a group or groups, prejudice, and social exclusion from that group or groups.

The misinterpretation of social cues can lead to errant self-categorization by placing oneself in the wrong category. This causes a false sense of self. This can either be putting one-self is a group that they do not feel comfortable in or a group that may be demeaning to them. Understanding oneself (beliefs, attitudes, feelings) is important when placing oneself into a group category. If an individual places themselves in the wrong category they may feel uncomfortable but unwilling to change (Voci, 2006). An example of this is someone that is born poor that believes they will always be poor and identifies with this group. They are not willing to take the steps to change this because they believe it cannot be changed. It is who they are. The reactions of others may support this false idea.

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