Publication details

Identity fusion, outgroup relations, and sacrifice: A cross-cultural test


PURZYCKI Benjamin Grant LANG Martin

Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Cognition
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Identity fusion; Cooperation; Sacrifice; Intergroup dynamics
Description Identity fusion theory has become a popular psychological explanation of costly self-sacrifice. It posits that while maintaining one’s own individual identity, a deep affinity with one’s group can contribute to sacrifice for that group. We test this and related hypotheses using a behavioral economic experiment designed to detect biased, self-interested favoritism among eight different populations ranging from foragers and horticulturalists to the fully market-integrated. We find that while individuals favor themselves on average, those with higher ingroup fusion sacrifice more money to other members of their ingroup who are unable to reciprocate. We also find that positive outgroup relations has a similar effect. Additionally, we assess a recently-posited interaction between ingroup and outgroup relations and show no consistent effect at the individual or sub-sample levels.
Related projects: