Social Identity and Trust: An Evolutionary Perspective


  • Paulo Finuras Associate Professor of Organisational Behavior ISG - Lisbon Business & Economics School, Portugal



Coalition, collective action, identification, similarity, tribal instinct, trust


Many behavioural scientists believe that the phenomenon of identity can be analysed from two perspectives. On the one hand, from an individual point of view, identity serves to characterize and distinguish each person, having natural and socially constructed elements and that its main characteristics are continuity and contrast, both functioning as symbolic signs. On the other hand, as an evolutionary species, humans have always been dependent on groups for survival, and therefore, it is natural that identity has so much to do with the individual, his relationships, decisions, life trajectory and feelings attached to his experience and how he sees himself and thinks that others see him. With regard to social identity, it is proposed that it evolved from the tribal social instinct and the relationships between individuals, based on similarities and, therefore, becoming the main element that promotes social trust, in addition to affiliation. In this article, we reflect on the isomorphism of the identity concept in its various applications in general and its consequences in particular for the construction of trust and social navigation in the context of human evolution.