Global Citizenship: Exploring the Effects of Perspective Taking and the Cross Categorization of Social Groups

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2013


Perspective taking is the act of immersing oneself into another person's mindset. Similarly, social group members experience psychological connectedness with one another. Taking the perspective of a highly identified group member should increase perceived similarities between the self and characteristics related to the other individual. This in turn should result in identification with the other's social identities as well. Past research suggests that global citizenship identification (GCID) is associated with prosocial behaviors; however, studies have been inconsistent in identifying how to promote this identity. Studies suggest that superordinate identities, like global citizenship, threaten subordinate identities, such as one's national citizenship (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2010). Crossed categorization (Crisp & Hewstone, 2000) allows for individuals to maintain multiple identities simultaneously. Pairing a less inclusive group with a more inclusive group, may reduce the tendency to reject identification with the more inclusive group. The current study utilized a perspective taking paradigm to cross global citizenship with ingroup or outgroup identities. The purpose of the present research was to examine the effect of cross categorization on GCID. In one study (N = 167) participants were randomly assigned to take the perspective of an American global citizen, a Japanese global citizen, or a global citizen while reading a brief narrative portraying a day in the life of a global citizen then complete a questionnaire about global citizenship and perceptions of the vignette. Mean differences were inconclusive suggesting that crossed categorization had no causal effects on GCID or perceptions of the vignette. Correlational analyses suggested that GCID was highly related to prosocial behaviors; however, American identification was not. Results also showed that participants' GCID was related to positive perceptions and perceived similarity with the global citizen from the passage. Findings support the theory that norms related to social groups are compartmentalized, suggesting that groups are defined by a unique set of behaviors which are maintained by group members (Hogg & Smith, 2007). Results indicated that GCID is a unique predictor of prosocial behaviors, and this identity has a variety of positive implications. Future research is needed to identify how to foster this identity within society.


Stephen Reysen

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences