Lesson 1.5

In-Group and Out-Group Psychology

Dive into this topic by watching the video, followed by key concepts below:


Key Concepts:


Your brain categorizes everyone you meet into either your “in-group” of people who are safe and like you, or an “out-group” of people who are more suspect.

  • This helped us survive in simpler times.

  • People who look, act, think, and speak like they might be part of our “family” or “tribe” get automatically categorized as more safe in our brains. We listen to and trust what they say more than others, and are unafraid to turn our backs on them.

  • People who don’t look, act, think, or speak like us are treated by our brains as “question marks,” or even potential threats.

  • This automatic process was helpful in caveman days, but less helpful today in situations where we want cognitive diversity.

  • Our logical brains have to override our natural instincts in order to not listen to or trust those who aren’t like us.

  • We have to continually remind ourselves of the benefits of differences, so we don’t default to our brain’s natural instincts when it comes to people who aren’t like us.

Our brains have two competing desires: be similar enough to belong to the group, but also be different enough to be useful.

  • This is called the desire for “optimal distinction.”

  • The double-edged sword of visible and cognitive differences is this: If we over-focus on our differences without focusing on the benefits to the group and how to unlock them, we risk getting ourselves into pretty intense situations.