Lost in the crowd: Entitative group membership reduces mind attribution

This research examined how and why group membership diminishes the attribution of mind to individuals. We found that mind attribution was inversely related to the size of the group to which an individual belonged (Experiment 1). Mind attribution was affected by group membership rather than the total number of entities perceived at once (Experiment 2). Moreover, mind attribution to an individual varied with the perception that the individual was a group member. Participants attributed more mind to an individual that appeared distinct or distant from other group members than to an individual that was perceived to be similar or proximal to a cohesive group (Experiments 3 and 4). This effect occurred for both human and nonhuman targets, and was driven by the perception of the target as an entitative group member rather than by the knowledge that the target was an entitative group member (Experiment 5).