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The power of norms to sway fused group members

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Winnifred R. Louis
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
Craig McGarty
School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.
Emma F. Thomas
College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia.
Catherine E. Amiot
Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada. amiot.catherine@uqam.ca
Fathali M. Moghaddam
Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057.


Whitehouse adapts insights from evolutionary anthropology to interpret extreme self-sacrifice through the concept of identity fusion. The model neglects the role of normative systems in shaping behaviors, especially in relation to violent extremism. In peaceful groups, increasing fusion will actually decrease extremism. Groups collectively appraise threats and opportunities, actively debate action options, and rarely choose violence toward self or others.

Open Peer Commentary
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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