Individual Values, Social Identity, and Optimal Distinctiveness
As opposing drives, the two motives hold each other in check. As the individual is immersed in larger and more inclusive social units, activation of the need for inclusion is decreased but the level of activation of the differentiation motive is increased. Conversely, as the individual moves toward disconnection from large social collectives in the direction of differentiation into smaller, more exclusive social units, the need for differentiation subsides but the level of activation of the need for inclusion is increased. The resultant counterpressures lead the individual toward an equilibrium point where the sense of self is extended to collectives that are sufficiently inclusive and sufficiently exclusive to satisfy both needs simultaneously (as depicted in Figure 12.1).