Extremist Groups Require the Greatest Trust Among Members

Melissa McDonald: Trust is enhanced by our ability to clearly demarcate ourselves as members of our group. The stronger the signals the better. Good signals are those which clearly differentiate membership in one group versus another; even stronger are those which are also costly to express, and therefore hard to fake. John Tooby connects this to political beliefs — arguing that common ground between liberals and conservatives is quickly dismissed, as it provides no means of signaling and solidifying one’s position in a political coalition. The more divergent and stronger beliefs we evince, the more we signal that we can be trusted by our allies.



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