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Julie Cook Kitchener September 7, 2021
Hi everyone,

Given that we have multiple converging crises to manage right now around the world (e.g. COVID, climate change, violent insurgencies, etc), it's important to consider how we might best respond at local levels, from both a behavioural and moral perspective. I've recently come across this Behavioural Scientist article about fostering the power of shared identity in crisis situations.

A team of researchers studying neuroscience and team dynamics found that groups working together as teams performed better than sets of individuals on nearly every task given to them. Interestingly, the teams of people who worked together and had strong collective focus starting producing similar neural responses in their brains, almost mirroring each other. The idea, then of "getting everyone on the same wavelength" now has scientific evidence to support it. It also hints at the power of shared identity to "spark collective action....and better mobilize in pursuit of...common interests".

Shared or collective identity is a well-known concept in the field of social movements; less so in the behavioural sciences and social marketing. There is an interesting new book called "The Power of Us: Harnessing our shared identities to improve performance, increase cooperation and promote social harmony", that some of you might like to take a look at. The book provides a new understanding of identity, showing how our groups have a powerful influence on our feelings, beliefs, and behaviour—and how these shared identities can inspire both personal change and social movements. I have not read the book, but as I understand it, the authors focus on moving away from "us and them" thinking (a negative form of shared identity) and moving towards working on solutions together.