A revolutionary new understanding of identity, showing how our group affiliations have a powerful influence on our feelings, beliefs, and behavior, that can inspire both personal change and social movements.
If you're like most people, you probably believe that your identity is stable. But in fact, your identity is constantly changing – often outside your conscious awareness and sometimes even against your wishes – to reflect the interests of the groups of which you’re a part. And that fluid identity has a powerful influence over your feelings, beliefs, and behaviors.
In THE POWER OF GROUP IDENTITY, psychologists Dominic Packer and Jay Van Bavel integrate their own cutting‑edge research in psychology, neuroscience and economics to explain what identity really is and show how to harness its dynamic nature to:
• Increase productivity
• Improve physical and psychological health
• Overcome prejudice
• Unlock altruism
• Break political gridlock
• Galvanize others to solve controversial but persistent global problems
Along the way, they explain such seemingly unrelated phenomenon as why men cry at football games but not funerals, why the history of slavery in U.S. counties is one of the best predictors of current day racism, and why Canada keeps a national reserve of maple syrup. Packed with fascinating insights, vivid case studies, and a wealth of pioneering research, THE POWER OF GROUP IDENTITY will change the way you understand yourself — and the people around you — forever.
Dominic Packer is a Professor of Psychology at Lehigh University, and the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in Arts & Sciences, where he oversees twelve graduate programs and eighteen academic departments, ranging from English and History to Physics and Math. Much of his research investigates how and why people decide to dissent from their groups, as well as to cooperate with members of other groups. Dr. Packer’s writing has appeared in Scientific American Mind, the Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review, and for a time he had a popular blog entitled “It’s a Group Life” at Psychology Today. His research has been covered by international media outlets (including the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC, Mic.com, Daily Telegraph, Work Style Magazine, National Public Radio, Psychology Today). Dominic is a popular teacher and regularly teaches a range of courses, from some of the largest lecture courses at his university (e.g., Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology) to intimate seminars on identity and social change.
Jay Van Bavel is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University and is affiliated with Management and Organizations in the STERN School of Business. His research draws on everything from neuroscience to social networks to examine how our group identities shape our perceptions and actions. Dr. Van Bavel’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, Scientific American, and Quartz. He has given a TEDx talk, appeared on Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, PBS NOVA, and the forthcoming series on intergroup conflict for the Discovery channel by Alex Gibney and Steven Spielberg. He has appeared on WNYC, NPR, Al Jazeera, CBC, Bloomberg News, and TheWall Street Journal, and his work has been covered in many major international media outlets, including The Atlantic, BBC, Boston Globe, CBC News, Daily Telegraph, Huffington Post, Mic.com, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Nautilus, New Scientist, Newsweek, New York Times, NPR, Pacific Standard, PBS, Salon, Scientific American, The New Yorker, TIME, Strategy+Business, and Women’s Health.