Operationalization of group boundaries in research of religious prosociality
|Year of publication
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|MU Faculty or unit
|Into some social bonds, we are already born (kin), while into others, we decide for ourselves whether and to what extent we want to be part of them (kith). Similarly, an affiliation to a religious group can be obtained through early socialization by these primary bonds or later in life more based on oneself decision. Groups that we consider as "our own" are usually preferred over other groups. More prosocial acts, such as investing more resources (e. g., energy, time, money), emerge towards members of the same group. In current evolutionary grounded research on religious prosociality, the terms ingroup and outgroup are used to distinguish groups to which an individual belongs or does not. Belonging to different groups contributes to the formation of an individual's varied identity. Social groups can be seen as dynamic organisms that continually change - arise, regroup, and disappear. However, the question remains how it is possible to operationalize the group's belonging and where to lead the dividing line of group boundaries. In this paper, the focus will be not only on the theoretical context of these questions but also on concrete ways in which current research copes with the complexity of these phenomena.