Four studies investigated whether activating a social identity can lead group members to choose options that are labeled in words associated with that identity. When political identities were made salient, Republicans (but not Democrats) became more likely to choose the gamble or investment option labeled "conservative." This shift did not occur in a condition in which the same options were unlabeled. Thus, the mechanism underlying the effect appears to be not activated identity-related values prioritizing low risk, but rather activated identity-related language (the group label "conservative"). Indeed, when political identities were salient, Republicans favored options labeled "conservative" regardless of whether the options were low or high risk. Finally, requiring participants to explain the label "conservative" before making their choice did not diminish the effect, which suggests that it does not merely reflect inattention to content or construct accessibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the literatures on identity, priming, choice, politics, and marketing.
Morris, Michael, Erica Carranza, and Craig Fox. "Mistaken identity: Activating conservative political identities induces "conservative" financial decisions." Psychological Science 19, no. 11 (November 2008): 1154-1160.
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