Advertisement

Current Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 638–642 | Cite as

Optimal Distinctiveness and Identification with the Furry Fandom

  • Stephen ReysenEmail author
  • Courtney N. Plante
  • Sharon E. Roberts
  • Kathleen C. Gerbasi
Article

Abstract

We examined perceptions of optimal distinctiveness in the furry fandom and the relationship between this perception and identification with the furry fandom. Self-identified furries (N = 2998) completed measures of optimal distinctiveness that included felt inclusion/belongingness with the fandom and a measure of perceived group distinctiveness from other groups. Participants also completed a measure of identification with the fandom. Results revealed an interaction between felt belongingness and perceived distinctiveness that predicted fandom identification. Furries who felt both a high degree of belonging/inclusion to the fandom and who perceived the group to be distinct from other fandoms expressed the highest level of identification with the fandom. The results support prior optimal distinctiveness research and demonstrate that furries’ motivation to feel psychologically connected to the furry fandom is driven, in part, by the need for optimal distinctiveness.

Keywords

Optimal distinctiveness Belonging Inclusion Distinct Furry Identification 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

References

  1. Abrams, D. (1994). Political distinctiveness: an identity optimizing approach. European Journal of Social Psychology, 24, 357–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abrams, D. (2009). Social identity on a national scale: optimal distinctiveness and young people’s self-expression through musical preference. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 12, 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrijiw, A. M., & Hyatt, C. G. (2009). Using optimal distinctiveness theory to understand identification with a nonlocal professional hockey team. Journal of Sport Management, 23, 156–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brewer, M. B. (1991). The social self: on being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 475–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dimmock, J. A., & Gucciardi, D. F. (2008). The utility of modern theories of intergroup bias for research on antecedents to team identification. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 284–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gerbasi, K. C., Paolone, N., Higner, J., Scaletta, L. L., Bernstein, P. L., Conway, S., & Privitera, A. (2008). Furries from A to Z (Anthropomorphism to Zoomorphism). Society and Animals, 16, 197–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hogg, M. A. (2000). Subjective uncertainty reduction through self-categorization: a motivational theory of social identity processes. European Review of Social Psychology, 11, 223–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hoverd, W. J., Atkinson, Q. D., & Sibley, C. G. (2012). Group size and the trajectory of religious identification. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 51, 286–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Leonardelli, G. J., Pickett, C. L., & Brewer, M. B. (2010). Optimal distinctiveness theory: a framework for social identity, social cognition, and intergroup relations. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 63–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mock, S. E., Plante, C. N., Reysen, S., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2013). Deeper leisure involvement as a coping resource in a stigmatized leisure context. Leisure/Loisir, 37, 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Papyrina, V. (2012). If I want you to like me, should I be like you or unlike you? The effect of prior positive interaction with the group on conformity and distinctiveness in consumer decision making. Journal of Consumer Behavior, 11, 467–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Plante, C. N., Roberts, S., Reysen, S., & Gerbasi, K. (2014a). Interaction of socio-structural characteristics predicts identity concealment and self-esteem in stigmatized minority group members. Current Psychology, 33, 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Plante, C. N., Roberts, S., Reysen, S., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2014b). “One of us”: engagement with fandoms and global citizenship identification. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3, 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Plante, C. N., Roberts, S. E., Reysen, S., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2015). “By the numbers”: Comparing furries to related fandoms. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  15. Plante, C. N., Roberts, S. E., Snider, J. S., Schroy, C., Reysen, S., & Gerbasi, K. (2015). “More than skin-deep”: Biological essentialism in response to a distinctiveness threat in a stigmatized fan community. British Journal of Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  16. Reysen, S., & Branscombe, N. R. (2010). Fanship and fandom: comparisons between sport fans and non-sport fans. Journal of Sport Behavior, 33, 176–193.Google Scholar
  17. Reysen, S., & Lloyd, J. D. (2012). Fanship and fandom in cyber space. In Z. Yan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of cyber behavior (pp. 292–300). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Google Scholar
  18. Reysen, S., & Shaw, J. (2015). Sport fan as the default fan: Why non-sport fans are stigmatized. The Phoenix Papers.Google Scholar
  19. Reysen, S., Katzarska-Miller, I., Nesbit, S. M., & Pierce, L. (2013). Further validation of a single-item measure of social identification. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 463–470.Google Scholar
  20. Reysen, S., Hall, T., & Puryear, C. (2014). Friends’ accuracy and bias in rating group identification. Current Psychology, 33, 644–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Reysen, S., Plante, C. N., Roberts, S. E., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2015). Social identity perspective of the furry fandom. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  22. Riketta, M. (2008). “Who identifies with which group?” The motive-feature match principle and its limitations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 715–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Roberts, S. E., Plante, C. N., Gerbasi, K. C., & Reysen, S. (2015). Clinical interaction with anthropomorphic phenomenon: Notes for health professionals about interacting with clients who possess this unusual identity. Health & Social Work.Google Scholar
  24. Schroy, C., Plante, C. N., Reysen, R., Roberts, S. E., & Gerbasi, K. C. (2015). Different motivations as predictors of psychological connection to fan interest and fan groups in anime, furry, and fantasy sport fandoms. The Phoenix Papers. Google Scholar
  25. Sheldon, K. M., & Bettencourt, B. A. (2002). Psychological need-satisfaction and subjective well-being within social groups. British Journal of Social Psychology, 41, 25–38.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Ehrhart, K. H., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and diversity in work groups: a review and model for future research. Journal of Management, 37, 1262–1289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Slotter, E. B., Duffy, C. W., & Gardner, W. L. (2014). Balancing the need to be “me” with the need to be “we”: applying optimal distinctiveness theory to the understanding of multiple motives within romantic relationships. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 52, 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  29. Tropp, L. R., & Wright, S. C. (2001). Ingroup identification as the inclusion of ingroup in the self. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 585–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Turner, J. C., Hogg, M. A., Oakes, P. J., Reicher, S. D., & Wetherell, M. (1987). Rediscovering the social group: A self-categorization theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  31. Vignoles, V. L., Regalia, C., Manzi, C., Golledge, J., & Scabini, E. (2006). Beyond self-esteem: influence of multiple motives on identity construction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 308–333.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Wann, D. L. (1995). Preliminary validation of the sport fan motivation scale. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 19, 377–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Reysen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Courtney N. Plante
    • 2
  • Sharon E. Roberts
    • 2
  • Kathleen C. Gerbasi
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas A&M University-CommerceCommerceUSA
  2. 2.Renison University CollegeUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Niagara County Community CollegeSanbornUSA

Personalised recommendations