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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Aug 18, 2022

Identity helps shape our perception and thinking about the world around us. What is identity? How does it influence our perspective? These are some of the questions we answer in this episode of the Rational Reminder Podcast. In this episode, we talk with Jay Van Bavel, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of New York, an affiliate at the Stern School of Business in Management and Organizations, and Director of the Social Identity and Morality Lab. He is also co-author of the book The Power of Us, which provides readers with cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to explain how identity really works and how we can harness it for the better. His research focuses on how group identities, moral values, and political beliefs shape the mind, brain, and behaviour. He has published over 100 academic publications on the topic and has won various awards for his research achievements. In our conversation, we unpack the complexity of identity and its influence on our perspective and decision-making abilities. We cover aspects such as the differences between self-identity and group identity, how to be aware of your biases, the role that leaders play in influencing identity, and how identity plays out in social relationships. We also talk about how group identity interacts with democracy and the role of social media in shaping our identity, as well as learn some practical advice to help broaden your perspective.


Key Points From This Episode:


  • We start the show by learning the basics of group identity. [0:03:29]
  • How group identity differs from self-identity. [0:04:04]
  • He explains how impactful group identity is to individual identity. [0:05:06]
  • Whether there is good data on how many groups people typically identify with. [0:06:08]
  • How aware people are of the groups they identify with. [0:07:27]
  • Ways in which group identity affects decision-making. [0:08:12]
  • The effect group identity has on setting and achieving goals. [0:09:35]
  • General ways group identity affects social relationships. [0:15:21]
  • A deeper explanation about groups, memberships, and physical presence. [0:17:28]
  • Differences between introverts and extroverts. [0:19:18]
  • How group identity affects our thinking and perspective. [0:20:43]
  • Associate Professor Van Bavel explains how to foster social cohesion, using America as an example. [0:25:41]
  • Find out if people have a default identity that determines their perspective. [0:28:41]
  • What people can do to be aware of which identity is affecting their thinking. [0:30:10]
  • Find out if group identity affects how people learn new information. [0:31:58]
  • Whether people can change or broaden their identity to improve decision-making. [0:34:18]
  • Practical advice to help broaden someone’s perspective. [0:37:25]
  • The challenges of changing your group identity entirely. [0:39:34]
  • Steps that one can take to view the world more objectively. [0:42:04]
  • A rundown of how leaders influence the thinking and decision-making of individuals. [0:45:47]
  • An outline of what qualities to look out for in groups. [0:48:49]
  • The influence of social media on which groups people identify with. [0:52:21]
  • We learn if following people on social media with opposing views helps break down group barriers. [0:55:57]
  • An explanation of how group identities interact with democracy. [0:58:48]
  • The differences between current political divisions and past political divisions. [1:03:59]
  • How well studies on the topic can be replicated. [1:05:43]
  • We end the show by learning how Associate Professor Van Bavel defines success. [1:09:18]