What makes a group worth dying for? Identity fusion fosters perception of familial ties, promoting self-sacrifice

Swann Jr., William B., Buhrmester, Michael D., Gomez, Angel, Jetten, Jolanda, Bastian, Brock, Vazquez, Alexandra, Ariyanto, Amarina, Besta, Tomasz, Christ, Oliver, Cui, Lijuan, Finchilescu, Gillian, Gonzalez, Roberto, Goto, Nobuhiko, Hornsey, Matthew, Sharma, Sushama, Susianto, Harry and Zhang, Airong (2014) What makes a group worth dying for? Identity fusion fosters perception of familial ties, promoting self-sacrifice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106 6: 912-926. doi:10.1037/a0036089

Author Swann Jr., William B.
Buhrmester, Michael D.
Gomez, Angel
Jetten, Jolanda
Bastian, Brock
Vazquez, Alexandra
Ariyanto, Amarina
Besta, Tomasz
Christ, Oliver
Cui, Lijuan
Finchilescu, Gillian
Gonzalez, Roberto
Goto, Nobuhiko
Hornsey, Matthew
Sharma, Sushama
Susianto, Harry
Zhang, Airong
Title What makes a group worth dying for? Identity fusion fosters perception of familial ties, promoting self-sacrifice
Journal name Journal of Personality and Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3514
Publication date 2014-06-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0036089
Open Access Status
Volume 106
Issue 6
Start page 912
End page 926
Total pages 15
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Language eng
Abstract We sought to identify the mechanisms that cause strongly fused individuals (those who have a powerful, visceral feeling of oneness with the group) to make extreme sacrifices for their group. A large multinational study revealed a widespread tendency for fused individuals to endorse making extreme sacrifices for their country. Nevertheless, when asked which of several groups they were most inclined to die for, most participants favored relatively small groups, such as family, over a large and extended group, such as country (Study 1). To integrate these findings, we proposed that a common mechanism accounts for the willingness of fused people to die for smaller and larger groups. Specifically, when fused people perceive that group members share core characteristics, they are more likely to project familial ties common in smaller groups onto the extended group, and this enhances willingness to fight and die for the larger group. Consistent with this, encouraging fused persons to focus on shared core characteristics of members of their country increased their endorsement of making extreme sacrifices for their country. This pattern emerged whether the core characteristics were biological (Studies 2 and 3) or psychological (Studies 4-6) and whether participants were from China, India, the United States, or Spain. Further, priming shared core values increased the perception of familial ties among fused group members, which, in turn, mediated the influence of fusion on endorsement of extreme sacrifices for the country (Study 5). Study 6 replicated this moderated mediation effect whether the core characteristics were positive or negative. Apparently, for strongly fused persons, recognizing that other group members share core characteristics makes extended groups seem "family like" and worth dying for.
Keyword Culture
Identity fusion
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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