ArticlePDF Available

Five (Plus or Minus One): The point at which an assemblage of individuals is perceived as a single, unified group

Authors:
  • VA Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital

Abstract

At what point is an assemblage of individuals perceived as a single, unified group? And how do demographic characteristics of these individuals influence perceptions of groupness? To answer these questions, we conducted four studies in which participants viewed sets of images that varied in the number of individuals depicted, and then identified the number of persons at which the assemblage was perceived to be a single, unified group. Across four studies, we manipulated the gender and race composition of the persons depicted. The results suggest that five (plus or minus one) people constitutes the point at which a collection of persons is perceived less like separate individuals and more like a single, unified group. However, the demographic complexity of the assemblage also influences perceived groupness. The number of individuals required to be perceived as a unified group is larger for diverse, compared to homogeneous, assemblages of individuals.
... four or five). However, we are currently investigating how the size and homogeneity aspects of the others influences the consequences of the one-among-others effect described above ( Stocks, López-Pérez & Oceja, 2016). Second, our findings suggest that the willingness to increase the welfare of others regarded as separate individuals could be added to the proposed list of helper's motives. ...
Chapter
This chapter presents two lines of research about two motives that may lead people to helping a group other than one’s own. First, our research on the one-among-others effect posits that inducing empathic concern for a victim who is presented along with other individuals in need may enhance the willingness to increase the welfare of others (i.e. generalised altruism). Second, our research on the world-change orientation posits the existence of a social motive, quixoteism, with the ultimate goal of increasing the welfare of the world. The proximal processes that may elicit these motives, and their influence on the decision and maintenance of intergroup helping contexts, are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Feeling empathy for a member of the group may result in either favoring this individual at the expense of the group or helping the entire group. We explain these intriguing find- ings by proposing that the combined influence of feeling empathy for one individual and awareness of others enhances willingness to help both the individual and the others (taken as individuals). The results of three experiments showed that inducing empathy for one individual promotes favoring him or her at the expense of the group, whereas inducing empathy for one-among-others leads to helping these others individually, instead of as a group. Furthermore, the awareness of others mediated the proposed one-among-others effect.
Article
Full-text available
The main objective of this study is to identify criteria that would allow us to determine when a collection of people is a group. A bibliographic search of the psychological literature has yielded the terms groupness, entitativity, and groupality. These three constructs are then theoretically analyzed and compared, and are found to share two main aspects: (a) the conception of groups as a continuum varying in their level of group development (LGD) and (b) most of the central criteria that have been considered to define a group as a group. Regarding these central criteria, we categorize them as determining elements, LGD criteria, and group results trying to respect their different epistemological positions. The theoretical proposal outlined here provides a basis on which to develop tools that will enrich organizational assessment.
Article
Previous research on the one-among-others effect has shown that inducing empathic concern towards a victim presented alongside with a small number of other victims enhances (a) the perception of this set of victims as separate and different individuals (instead of as a group), and (b) the preference to help them individually (rather than collectively). We propose that inducing a local (vs. global) perceptual scope increases (vs. lessens) these two outcomes. In this work, participants first reported their perception of an ad that showed a victim depicted as one-among-others and, afterwards, were unexpectedly asked to indicate their preference for giving the victims either “individualized”, “collective”, or “equal” assistance. In Experiment 1 ( N = 48), we manipulated the participants’ local (vs. global) perceptual scope and allowed empathy concern to occur naturally. In Experiment 2 ( N = 213), we manipulated both the perceptual scope and empathy concern. Overall, results showed that the combined presence of local scope and empathic concern increased the awareness of others (η p² = .203 and .047, 95% CI = [0.05, 0.35] and [0.03, 0.13], p s < .03) and the preference for individualized assistance ( z s = 2.08 and 2.74, p s < .02). Lastly, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of perceiving a set of victims as individuals (rather than as a group) in need.
Article
Previous research on the one-among-others effect has shown that inducing empathic concern towards a victim presented among other individuals in need enhances: (1) awareness of these others and (2) the willingness to help them individually. In this work, we test that these outcomes are linked by an additional process: the generalization of empathic concern felt for the victim towards the others in need. Study 1 revealed that inducing empathic concern for a victim presented as one-among-others led to see the others as separate and different individuals, not as a unitary group. Study 2 showed that the one-among-others presentation (vs. only-one-victim) increased empathic concern towards those presented along with the main victim. Study 3 showed that the one-among-others presentation (vs. a single-victim or a statistical presentation) increased the empathic concern felt for other individuals in need. Therefore, the one-among-others presentation does not weaken empathic concern but, instead, it leads to its generalization from one to others.
Chapter
Studies of the sizes of human groups “in the field” are critically examined to determine and develop their contributions on the basis of a new analysis of existing data for 12,931 groups observed in twelve urban settings. Past analyses tended to conclude that all the distributions of group sizes were J-shaped and fitted to Poisson law rather than to the binominal one, both being zero-truncated. The new analysis of the same data questions that conclusion: when the settings are unfavourable to social interactions, there is a majority of solitary individuals; when they are favourable to them, there is a majority of individuals in dyads. We propose an analysis and mathematical models of these results from the point of view of the limits of the individuals’ capacity to process inform from the environment.
Article
The social world consists of numerous and diverse groupings of people into meaningful and important collectives. As perceivers, we routinely encounter aggregates of people, some of which we endow with the property of groupness, and others we do not. Moreover, the variety of groups is enormous, yet perceivers differentiate among them and understand their properties. This chapter discusses how and why perceivers “see” an aggregate of persons as a group, the distinctions among different types of groups that perceivers detect, the variation among groups in their perceived groupness or entitativity, and the consequences that follow from perceiving a group as an entitative unit. The results of our research program addressing these issues are summarized, and implications for remaining unanswered questions are discussed.
Article
Moreland eloquently argues for excluding dyads from group process research and theory. Although dyads can have properties that do not lend themselves to certain group process research (e.g., coalition formation) and have properties that can go beyond typical group processes (e.g., intimate relations and love), in most instances dyads are groups of two and operate under the same principles and theories that explain group processes for groups of three and larger. In this article, the author presents research and theory that support the inclusion of dyads as groups.
Article
Subjects were presented with two musical chords in succession, called the prime and target, respectively. The prime and target were either related (e.g., C and D major, respectively, sharing a parent key) or unrelated (e.g., C and F♯ major, respectively, sharing no parent key). Subjects judged, as quickly as possible, whether the target was in tune or out of tune. Response times for in‐tune targets were faster when prime and target were related than when they were unrelated, suggesting that the prime generated expectancies for related targets. Priming occurred even when prime and target shared no partials. These results suggest that chordal expectancies generated by a musical context are not due solely to priming at the level of individual frequencies, but also involve priming at a more abstract level of chord function, implicating a cognitive representation of chord relationships. A network model of chord relationships is proposed whereby chord nodes activate related chord nodes via links to their parent key nodes.
Article
Purpose - Aims to create a better understanding those factors that influence group cohesion in culturally heterogeneous teams. Design/methodology/approach - The hypotheses presented were tested on a sample of 250 students from a small Hawaiian university, comprising 140 Anglo, 28 Japanese and 82 Pacific Islander representatives. Findings - The processes and actions that influence cohesion very significantly. Broadly, the research indicates that individuals from different cultures experience the same behaviours in multicultural teams differently. Practical implications - There needs to be a willingness to examine the group experience from the point of view of the cultural other and then to explore that experience in an open way. Originality/value - This study helps to fill one gap in the understanding of culturally heterogeneous teams but is also the starting-point for additional investigation into the complex dynamics of such teams. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)