The paradox of group mind: "people in a group" have more mind than "a group of people"

Erin Cooley, B. Keith Payne, William Cipolli, C. Daryl Cameron, Alyssa Berger, Kurt Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Three studies examine how subtle shifts in framing can alter the mind perception of groups. Study 1 findsthat people generally perceive groups to have less mind than individuals. However, Study 2 demonstratesthat changing the framing of a group from "a group of people" to "people in a group," substantiallyincreases mind perception-leading to comparable levels of mind between groups and individuals. Study3 reveals that this change in framing influences people's sympathy for groups, an effect mediated bymind perception. We conclude that minor linguistic shifts can have big effects on how groups areperceived-with implications for mind perception and sympathy for mass suffering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-699
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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