The Power of Us Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2021-09-07
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Spark
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A revolutionary new understanding of identity, showing how our groups have a powerful influence on our feelings, beliefs, and behavior—and how these shared identities can inspire both personal change and social movements.
If you're like most people, you probably believe that your identity is stable. But in fact, your identity is constantly changing—often outside your conscious awareness and sometimes even against your wishes—to reflect the interests of the groups you belong to.
In The Power of Us, psychologists Dominic Packer and Jay Van Bavel integrate their own cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to explain how identity really works and how to harness its dynamic nature to:

  • Boost cooperation and productivity
  • Overcome bias
  • Escape from echo chambers
  • Break political gridlock
  • Foster dissent and mobilize for change
  • Lead effectively
  • Galvanize action to address persistent global problems

Along the way, they explore such seemingly unrelated phenomena as why a small town in Germany spent decades divided by shoes, why beliefs persist after they are disproven, how working together synchronizes our brains, what makes selfish people generous, why effective leaders say “we” a lot, and how playing soccer can reduce age-old conflicts. 
Understanding how identity works allows people to take control, moving beyond wondering, “Who am I?” to answer instead, “Who do I want to be?”  Packed with fascinating insights, vivid case studies, and a wealth of pioneering research, The Power of Us will change the way you understand yourself—and the people around you—forever.

Author Biography

Dominic Packer is a Professor of Psychology at Lehigh University, and the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs in Arts & Sciences, where he oversees twelve graduate programs and eighteen academic departments, ranging from English and History to Physics and Math. Much of his research investigates how and why people decide to dissent from their groups, as well as to cooperate with members of other groups. Dr. Packer’s writing has appeared in Scientific American Mind, the Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review, and for a time he had a popular blog entitled “It’s a Group Life” at Psychology Today. His research has been covered by international media outlets (including the New York Times, the Washington Post, BBC,, Daily Telegraph, Work Style Magazine, National Public Radio, Psychology Today). Dominic is a popular teacher and regularly teaches a range of courses, from some of the largest lecture courses at his university (e.g., Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology) to intimate seminars on identity and social change. 

Jay Van Bavel is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University and is affiliated with Management and Organizations in the STERN School of Business. His research draws on everything from neuroscience to social networks to examine how our group identities shape our perceptions and actions. Dr. Van Bavel’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, the Washington Post, Scientific American, and Quartz. He has given a TEDx talk, appeared on Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, PBS NOVA, and the forthcoming series on intergroup conflict for the Discovery channel by Alex Gibney and Steven Spielberg. He has appeared on WNYC, NPR, Al Jazeera, CBC, Bloomberg News, and TheWall Street Journal, and his work has been covered in many major international media outlets, including The Atlantic, BBC, Boston Globe, CBC News, Daily Telegraph, Huffington Post,, Mother Jones, National Geographic, Nautilus, New Scientist, Newsweek, New York Times, NPR, Pacific Standard, PBS, Salon, Scientific American, The New Yorker, TIME, Strategy+Business, and Women’s Health

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