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Football game day participation was found to be the strongest predictor of football clothing choice

Posted Apr 18 2013 8:57am
The second process involved in social identity formation, social comparison, results from inter-group differentiation. There are two primary ways in which the in-group differentiates itself from the out-group (Green, 2004). The first differentiation technique is in-group favoritism. In-group favoritism simply refers to the tendency for group members to mentally exaggerate and enhance the positive qualities of the relevant in-group to which the members see themselves belonging. The second differentiation technique is out-group derogation. Out-group derogation is the process by which the negative qualities of relevant out-groups are exaggerated in order to make one's in-group seem superior. Comparison standards that will result in the favorable evaluation of the in-group are usually chosen with the result of social comparison being enhanced group differentiation.

Past research indicates that being a football fan of a particular university provides both a source of identity for the fan as an individual and a sense of belonging in an increasingly fragmented postmodern society (Gibson et al., 2002). Students self-categorize themselves as loyal fans in order to perceive themselves as part of the larger organizational group, thereby resulting in the emphasis of characteristics and values common to all students attending the same university. This categorization makes the differentiation between competing universities more clear.

Based on past research, it has also been found that distinctiveness differentiates one organization from other organizations and provides a sharper and more salient definition for organizational members (Mael & Asforth, 1992). Universities may use game day rituals and chants as a way to distinguish themselves and attract a passionate following among students. Feelings of distinctiveness and uniqueness allow members to more easily categorize and differentiate group members from non-group members.

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