Separating Yourself from the Pack

Have you ever gotten into a heated argument about politics? Maybe you’ve said something you’re not proud of during game night with friends, or booed the opposing team at a sporting event. Psychologist Mina Cikara studies what happens in these moments — when our mindset shifts from “you and me” to “us and them.” This week on the show, Mina shares the profound ways that becoming a part of a group shapes our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Additional Resources


Scarcity Disrupts the Neural Encoding of Black Faces: A Socioperceptual Pathway to Discrimination, by Amy R. Krosch and David M. Amodio, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, 2019.

Positivity bias in judging ingroup members’ emotional expressions by Talya Lazerus, Zachary A Ingbretsen, Ryan M Stolier, Jonathan B Freeman, Mina Cikara, Emotion, 2016.

The “angry = black” effect across the lifespan by Yarrow C. Dunham; Mahzarin R. Banaji, Journal of Vision, 2006.

See your friends close and your enemies closer, Yi Jenny Xiao and Jay Van Bavel, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2012.

A comparison of human aggression committed by groups and individuals: An interindividual–intergroup discontinuity by Brian P Meier and Verlin B Hinsz, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2004.

Causes and Consequences of Coalitional Cognition by Mina Cikara, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 2021.

Minding the Gap: Narrative Descriptions about Mental States Attenuate Parochial Empathy by Emile G. Bruneau, Mina Cikara, Rebecca Saxe,  PLoS ONE, 2015.

Peace Through Friendship, by By Juliana Schroeder and Jane L. Risen, the New York Times, 2014.


Subscribe to the Hidden Brain Podcast on your favorite podcast player so you never miss an episode.


Go behind the scenes, see what Shankar is reading and find more useful resources and links.