The Group Self

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Science  18 May 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6083, pp. 848-852
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220987

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Although people often tend to consider themselves and others as unique individuals, there are many situations in which they think, feel, and act primarily as group members. This can bring out the best in them, as when they are inspired to help fellow citizens in need, or the worst, as when they show hostility against others simply because they represent another religious or ethnic group. Understanding when and why the group self becomes more important than the individual self, and how this affects people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, can help to prevent and redirect unwelcome aspects of human behavior by addressing them at the appropriate level of self.

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