Whether the public blames Wall Street or its bankers for bad decisions depends a lot on the group’s level of cohesion as well as its mindfulness, or ability to “think,” suggests a new study.
The researchers wanted to find out how people choose to blame large collectives, such as a major corporation, political party, governmental entity, professional sports team or other organization, while still treating members of those groups as unique individuals. They found that the more people judge a united group as having a “mind”— the ability to think, intend or plan — the less they judge each member as having their own capacity to complete acts requiring such a mind. The opposite also held.
“We thought there might be certain cases where instead of attributing mind to individuals, people actually attribute mind to the group,” study researcher Liane Young, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, said in a statement.
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