Sustainability Threat. Shared identities that secure cooperation are typically defined by categorizingothers into ‘ingroup’ and ‘out-group’ members. Such categorizations also determine whether people have positive or negative expectations of others, for instance concerning the likelihood that they can be trusted to reciprocate cooperative efforts. However, the same individual that is considered an in-group member in the work context can be seen as an out-group member in a community context. Thus, when examining cooperation in multiple domains, it becomes clear that social categorization and identification processes can cause negative spillover effects that reduce the possibility of achieving cooperation sustainability across different life domains.

State of the Art. It is generally acknowledged that people can have multiple social identities, which differ in salience depending on social context. At the same time, current insights are based on studies examining one particular identity and level of identification at a time, without considering multiple contexts or time frames. Further, standard methodologies are not well suited to examine the ways in which people can be helped to flexibly combine different identities or change the way they conceive of themselves and others across contexts or over time. Recent innovations in our labs have made it possible to assess continuous changes in these processes by using neurocognitive and psychophysiological measures to monitor identity flexibility over time and across contexts. This offers potential for a theoretical breakthrough.

Main Proposition. Enhancing the flexibility in the way people categorize and stereotype others – which affects the willingness to cooperate with them – can help accommodate multiple categorizations and identities across different life domains.

Main outcome. This research will extend existing theory on social categorization and social identity to incorporate antecedents of identity flexibility and implicit adaptations of category definitions and stereotypes.


11.1 Identities and Networks: Partners in Sustainable Cooperation

11.2 Group Norms, Intrinsic Motivation and Sustainable Energy Consumption

11.3 Identity Signaling and Sustainable Cooperation

11.4 and 11.5 Resilience at a Crossroads: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Coping with Social Devaluation (shared postdoc position)

11.6 Mobilizing Households for a Sustainable Energy Transition





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