It is often suggested that people automatically form an impression of a target by using stereotypes. However, people can flexibly deploy different types of individuating processes, depending on the communicative context. We showed that people can individuate targets from their social category by communicating stereotype-inconsistent information (person–group individuation) when they are required to reproduce information about the targets and people can individuate targets from other individuals by communicating information that is distinctive about the targets (person–person individuation) when required to identify the targets. The participants' performance is unrelated to information memorability (Experiment 1) and is not affected by time pressure (Experiment 2). Humans' adaptive capacity for individuation is discussed.