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Psychology Glossary

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Social Categorization

Social Categorization is the process of classifying people into groups based on similar characteristics, whether it be nationality, age, occupation, diagnosis, or some other trait. When we meet a new professor, for example, we may classify her as a woman, as middle-aged, as Asian, as an academic, and so on. Social categorization is a natural part of social perception; it provides a mental shortcut in that it allows us to infer properties about a person based on the properties of others in the same category (although our inferences may not always be correct).

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