SOCIAL IDENTITY: A FLEXIBLE CONCEPTION OF IDENTITY AND SHARED NARRATIVES OR A FIXED TRAIT?

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This project is trying to understand the role that social identity plays in decision making. It is testing a conceptualization of social identity attachment as "strength of attachment.” Thus testing the hypothesis that attachment to a social identity predicts whether norms affect a person's choice. Testing the “strength of attachment” conceptualization has considerable and important implications for how we model and craft policy-interventions that leverage social identity motivated behaviour.

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BACKGROUND

There are currently two established views on this which this project departs from.One view of how social identity impacts choice is that it is driven by a fixed individual propensity to be attached to an identity. This would predict that they would be heavily influenced by the prescriptions associated with that identity. A second prediction that follows from this view is that these groupy types will feel affiliation with more social identities than non-groupy types.

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THE STRATEGY

In this study we plan to experimentally manipulate the strength of attachment to an identity. Using a novel technique that relies on a behavioural measure (rather than a self-reported scale), we are disentangling the individual-propensity to conform to a norm from the degree to which the individual is attached to the identity (and therefore follows the norm).

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TIME-LINE

January 2019-December 2019

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RESEARCH TEAM

Erin Krupka (University of Michigan)

Roy Chen (National University of Singapore)

Daphne Chang (University of Michigan)

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