Relevant for us? We-prioritisation in cognitive processing

Merryn Constable, Fruzsina Elekes, Natalie Sebanz, Guenther Knoblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
57 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1549-1561
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number12
Early online date22 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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