Collective Identities

Collective identity refers to the idea that by participating in a group with like-minded people, an individual can gain a sense of belonging that ultimately influences his or her personal identity.

Inner States

Human beings have a fundamental need to “comprehend, manage, and share inner states” with one another. The inner states of individual, including his/her “beliefs, feelings, attitudes, goals, and standards,” are an essential feature of both the individual’s personality and how that personality to conveyed to others.

Apt to Cling to Our Beliefs

It has been well-documented that people tend to cling to their beliefs even after new evidence invalidates previous evidence. It has been assumed that people base beliefs on rational thought and current evidence, making this persistence of beliefs somewhat counterintuitive. Research has suggested that this phenomenon is due to the existence of fabricated explanations for beliefs. "People spontaneously generate explanations for events as a way of understanding them, including their own beliefs.

Edit Our Reality

Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than how they are perceived or imagined. Human perception of reality, however, can be skewed based on one's knowledge, beliefs, and social pressures. Knowledge is based on facts, yet facts can be twisted and changed from one theory to another depending on the time and place. For example, “psychologists have favored variables that serve loyally within the theoretical boundaries of the scientific wisdom of their time”.

Sexual Jealousy

Sexual jealousy is a “negative physiological, emotional, and mental state,” evoked in response to suspected or imminent sexual infidelity. It is thought that sexual jealousy evolved as a strategy to protect sexual partners from competitors and promiscuity. One scientific study, examining both men and women who had been experiencing sexual jealousy, found that both sexes displayed more anger toward their partners than toward their competitors in response to a sexual transgression.


According to psychologist Carl G. Jung, a persona is a façade that adapts an individual to his or her environment, concealing the individual's true personality. The human personality is a complex amalgamation of thoughts, desires, and emotions, making it difficult to distinguish between one's true personality and a social persona. Hester MacFarland Solomon proposes the existence of an "as if" personality, responsible for defense from negative experiences through detachment from society.


Morality is the differentiation of actions and decisions between those that are right and those that are wrong. The notions of selfishness and empathy, the foundation of morality, generally clash within humans. “People are selfish, yet morally motivated. Morality is universal, yet culturally variable”. People are equipped with a moral compass from birth, but must be taught how to use it.


Groupthink happens when a tight-knit group of individuals is so entrenched in its beliefs that it fails to acknowledge alternative lines of thinking. Members of these groups will often censor their own opinions in order to maintain the image of group unanimity. These groups will only use information that favors their position, leading to decisions that are collectively rationalized without using a "fair, open, and rational decision-making process." They may also become obsessed with combating outside groups, whom they see as enemies of their goals.


Forgiveness is the abandonment of “negative affect and judgment in the face of a wrongdoer's considerable injustice”. In stressful situations, such as when an individual has been betrayed or abused, individuals typically cope by becoming angry and seeking justice for the wrong done to them. Forgiveness functions as an application of mercy, usually granted in response to justice for a harmful act. While everyone has the power to forgive, the actions involved depends on the individual.

Interpreting Behavior

"By age two, humans have acquired a capacity for social intelligence that outperforms our nearest primate relatives—the capacity to interpret others’ actions in terms of intentions, beliefs, and knowledge." Experiments have shown that a person’s ability to utilize this skill depends upon the level of effort he or she expends on attention and working memory.


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