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Examination of Components of Interpersonal Threats to Public Identity
    Geronimo Perez Jr     Texas A & M University - Commerce
    Stephen M Reysen    

An interpersonal threat to public identity is a situation where another person intentionally attempts to illegitimately undermine one’s ability to display a valued and distinctive public identity (Reysen & Katzarska-Miller, 2013). Copycatting, a situation in which a person intentionally copies distinctive and valued characteristics of another person's public identity, is a fitting example of an interpersonal threat to public identity (Reysen et al., 2012). In two studies, we examine three aspects of the definition of interpersonal threats to public identity.
In Study 1, participants (N = 90) imagined that another person copies three aspects of their public identity (hairstyle, clothing, personality). We manipulated legitimacy of the copying (preparing for a role in the school play vs. not) and intention to harm the participant (role in play is either positive or negative). After reading the vignette participants rated felt anger. In Study 2 (N = 50), participants wrote about a fictitious meaningful or meaningless tattoo to highlight the value of the tattoo as a public identity characteristic. Participants then imagined someone copying the tattoo and rated felt anger.
In Study 1, participants expressed the greatest degree of anger when the copying was illegitimate and intentional. In Study 2, participants expressed more anger to copying of an important (vs. unimportant) characteristic.
The results support prior research (Reysen et al., 2012) showing the primary response to copycatting is anger. Furthermore, victims perceive the copying as illegitimate, intentional, and the copied public identity characteristic as valued. Together, the results support three components of the definition of interpersonal threats to public identity and copycatting as such a situation.

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