Where are we coming from versus who we will become: The effect of priming different contents of European identity on cooperation

Francesco La Barbera, Pia Cariota Ferrara, Mihaela Boza
Published Online:
05 May 2014
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 49 Issue 6

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In two experiments, we investigated how priming European identity as common project versus common heritage affects participants' cooperation in a social dilemma; an additional aim was to explore the mediators involved in the process. In the first experiment, 82 students played a public good dilemma with a European bogus partner and then completed self‐report measures of identification with the European Union (EU), group‐based trust and collective interest. Results showed that priming a common project‐based but not a common heritage‐based European social identity fostered cooperative behaviour; this effect was mediated by two sequential mediators: the common project prime increased participants' strength of identification with EU (mediator 1) which, in turn, positively affected group‐based trust (mediator 2), fostering greater cooperation. Experiment 2 was conducted with a similar procedure on a sample of 124 students, using a different measure of trust and changing the order of mediators. Results supported those of previous experiment: Priming a project‐based EU identity content (compared to heritage‐based one) had significant direct and indirect effects on cooperation.

© 2014 International Union of Psychological Science