Strong Desire For Group Membership Can Lead To Bias

by Paromita Datta published on -

Strong polarization of opinion has become the hallmark current political scenario. But researchers have found that this polarization could extend to other non-political areas of our life. A strong desire to belong to a particular group can lead us to form a harsh judgment about people on the other side, found a study conducted by Duke University. Published by PNAS, the study termed the desire to belong to a group as ‘groupiness’.

Group of wood figurines huddled together with one figure outside the group.

Strong affinity to a group can lead to bias towards others. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The research team studied 141 participants for groupiness and related bias. They tested its effect under different settings. The participants had to allocate money to themselves and someone else in their group or to themselves and someone from the other group. In the first set, the participants were divided in different groups according to their political leanings. In the second set, they were divided according to their preferences in art. In the third set, the recipients were chosen at random.

The researchers expected that bias would be higher among people who held very strong beliefs in their group. However, they found that just membership to a certain group led people to form a bias against those outside their group. A third of the participants did not show any bias towards group membership when allocating money. These participants were also more likely to identify as politically independent. The researchers did not find any relationship between gender, race and the desire to be part of a group.

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About the Author

Paromita Datta covers the latest health and wellness trends for Organic Facts. An ex-journalist who specialized in health and entertainment news, Paromita was responsible for managing a health supplement for The New Indian Express, a leading national daily in India. She has completed her post-graduation in Business Administration from the University of Rajasthan and her diploma in journalism from YMCA, Delhi. She has completed an e-course, Introduction to Food and Health, from Stanford University, US.

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