Humans are social by nature. We ask whether this social nature operates as a lens through which individuals process the world even in the absence of immediate interactions or explicit goals to collaborate. Is information that is potentially relevant to a group one belongs to (“We”) processed with priority over information potentially relevant to a group one does not belong to (“They”)? We conducted three experiments using a modified version of Sui, He, and Humphreys’ (2012) shape–label matching task. Participants were assigned to groups either via a common preference between assigned team members (Experiment 1) or arbitrarily (Experiment 2). In a third experiment, only personal pronouns were used. Overall, a processing benefit for we-related information (we-prioritization) occurred regardless of the type of group induction. A final experiment demonstrated that we-prioritization did not extend to other individual members of a short-term transitory group. We suggest that the results reflect an intrinsic predisposition to process information “relevant for us” with priority, which might feed into optimizing collaborative processes.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
|Early online date
|22 Aug 2019
|Published - 1 Dec 2019