Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: November 2016

28 - Identification with All Humanity: The Antithesis of Prejudice, and More

from Part III - Prejudice Reduction and Analysis in Applied Contexts


Late one night in the winter in 1940, in the small French village of Le Chambon, a shivering Jewish woman knocked on the door of André and Magda Trocmé, the local Lutheran minister and his wife. She was fleeing from the Nazis and desperate for food and shelter. Magda quickly took her in, fed her, and started thinking how to help her. The woman needed false identification papers and a place to hide. Across the next few weeks, Magda and André talked with their parishioners and neighbors, and soon the entire village was providing refuge for fleeing Jews. Some were smuggled to safety in Switzerland. Others were given false identities and hidden on nearby farms. Many were children. Despite a murderous Gestapo raid that killed several members of the community, across the next four desperate years Magda and André led Le Chambon in saving about 3,500 Jews from the Holocaust. When André was arrested and pressed to name all the Jews he had helped, he responded, “We do not know what a Jew is; we only know human beings” (Trocmé, 2007, p. vii).

In the 1980s and 1990s, psychologists conducted several interview studies of those who rescued Jews during the Holocaust, often comparing them to bystanders and Nazi perpetrators. Like the Trocmés, rescuers commonly believed that all human beings belong to one human family. One rescuer, interviewed by Samuel and Pearl Oliner, said it this way, “I had always considered all people regardless of their nationality, ethnic origins or race, religion, and so on, as members of one great family: mankind” (Oliner & Oliner, 1988, p. 157; see also Monroe, 1996).

This volume is about prejudice. But in sharp contrast to prejudice against those of a different race or religion, these rescuers cared deeply for all humanity and risked their own lives to save them. I have studied the structure of generalized prejudice (e.g., McFarland, 2010a), including its negative effects on concern for humanity and human rights (e.g., McFarland & Mathews, 2005). Reading about these rescuers, however, suggested that to help overcome prejudice, a focus is also needed on its opposite, on the sense that, as the rescuer said, we are all “members of one great family.”

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Adler, A. (1954). Understanding human nature, Wolfe, W. B. (Trans.). Greenwich, CT: Fawcett Publications (Original work published 1927).
Altemeyer, B. (1996). The authoritarian specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Aquino, K. F., & Reed, A. II. (2002). The self-importance of moral identity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 1423–1440. doi:
Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2009). The HEXACO-60: A short measure of the major dimensions of personality. Journal of Personality Assessment, 91, 340–345. doi:
Binder, J., Zagefka, H., Brown, R., Funke, F., Kessler, T., & Mummendey, A. (2009). Does contact reduce prejudice or does prejudice reduce contact? A longitudinal test of the contact hypothesis among majority and minority groups in three European countries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 843–856. doi:
Boehnke, K., Schwartz, S., Stromberg, C., & Sagiv, L. (1998). The structure and dynamics of worry: Theory, measurement, and cross-national replications. Journal of Personality, 66, 745–782. doi:
Brown, D. Z. (2008). The effects of personal characteristics and religious orientations on identification with all of humanity and humanitarian behaviors. Unpublished master's thesis. Western Kentucky University. Bowling Green, KY. Available at
Clapham, A. (2007). Human rights: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Crandall, J. E. (1980). Adler's concept of social interest: Theory, measurement, and implications for adjustment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 481–495. doi:
Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113–126. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.44.1.113
Davis, M. H., Luce, C., & Kraus, S. J. (1994). The heritability of characteristics associated with dispositional empathy. Journal of Personality, 62, 369–391. doi:
Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1029–1046. doi:
Hackett, J. D., Omoto, A. M., & Matthews, M. (2015). Human rights: The role of psychological sense of global community. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 21, 47–67. http:/
Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: A social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological Review, 108, 814–834. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.108.4.814
Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2004). Intuitive ethics: How innately prepared intuitions generate culturally variable virtues. Daedalus, 133(4), 55–66. doi: 10.1162/0011526042365555
Hamer, K., & Gutowski, J. (2009). Social identifications and pro-social activity in Poland. In Scuzzarello, S., Kinnvall, C., & Monroe, K. R. (Eds.), On behalf of others: The psychology of care in a global world (pp. 163–183). New York: Oxford University Press.
Hamer, K., Penczek, M., & Bilewicz, M. (2014, July). Mutual relationship of national and supranational identifications with forgiveness: Lights and shades of national identification. Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Rome.
Headley, J. M. (2008). The Europeanization of the world: On the origins of human rights and democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Kohlberg, L. (1969). Stage and sequence: The cognitive-developmental approach to socialization. In Goslin, D. (Ed.), Handbook of socialization theory and research (pp. 374–480). Chicago: Rand McNally.
Leach, C., van Zomeren, M., Zebel, S., Vliek, M. W., Pennekamp, S. F., Doosje, B.Spears, R. (2008). Group-level self-definition and self-involvement: A hierarchical (multicomponent) model of in-group identification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 144–165. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.1.144
Lewis, G. J., & Bates, T. C. (2014). Common heritable effects underpin concerns over norm maintenance and in-group favoritism: Evidence from genetic analyses of right-wing authoritarianism and traditionalism. Journal of Personality, 82, 297–309. doi:
Leyens, J. P., Paladino, P. M., Rodriguez-Torres, R., Vaes, J., Demoulin, S., Rodriguez-Perez, A., & Gaunt, R. (2000). The emotional side of prejudice: The attribution of secondary emotions to ingroups and outgroups. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 4, 186–197.
Malsch, A. M. (2005). Prosocial behavior beyond borders: Understanding a psychological sense of global community. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA.
Maslow, A. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row.
McCutcheon, L. E., Pope, T. J., Grove, A. R., Bates, J. A., Richman, H., & Aruguete, M. (2015). Religious skepticism and its relationship to attitudes about celebrities, identification with humanity, and need for uniqueness. North American Journal of Psychology, 17, 45–58.
McFarland, S. G. (2006, July). A Test of a Maslovian Model of “Oneness with All Humanity.” Paper presented at the International Society for Political Psychology, Barcelona, Spain.
McFarland, S. G. (2010a). Authoritarianism, social dominance, and other roots of generalized prejudice. Political Psychology, 31, 425–449. doi:
McFarland, S. (2010b). Personality and support for universal human rights: A review and test of a structural model. Journal of Personality, 78, 1735–1763. doi:
McFarland, S. G. (2010c, July). Predicting the ethnocentric valuation of human life: Identification with all humanity, generalized prejudice, and other correlates. Paper presented at the International Society of Political Psychology annual meeting, San Francisco.
McFarland, S. (2011). Presidential address: The slow creation of humanity. Political Psychology, 32, 1–20. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00801.x
McFarland, S., & Brown, D. (2008). Who believes that identification with all humanity is ethical? Psicologia Politica, 36, 37–49.
McFarland, S., Brown, D., & Webb, M. (2013). “Identification with all humanity” as a moral concept and psychological construct. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 194–198. doi:
McFarland, S., & Hornsby, W. (2015). An analysis of five measures of global human citizenship. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 806–817. doi:
McFarland, S., & Mathews, M. (2005). Who cares about human rights? Political Psychology, 26, 365–386. doi:
McFarland, S., Webb, M., & Brown, D. (2012). All humanity is my ingroup: A measure and studies of identification with all humanity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 830–853. doi:
Monroe, K. (1996). The heart of altruism: Perception of a common humanity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Nickerson, A. M. & Louis, W. R. (2008). Nationality versus humanity? Personality, identity, and norms in relation to attitudes toward asylum seekers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 796–817. doi:
Oliner, S. P., & Oliner, P. M. (1988). The altruistic personality: Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe. New York: The Free Press.
Pratto, F., & Glasford, D. E., (2008). Ethnocentrism and the value of a human life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1411–1428. doi: 10.1037/a0012636
Redwine, S., & Paris, N. (1973). Big Blue Marble original theme song. Santa Monica, CA.: A & M Records.
Reese, G., Proch, J., & Cohrs, J. C. (2013). Individual differences in responses to global inequality. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, xx, 1–22. doi:
Reese, G., Proch, J., & Finn, C. (2015). Identity with all humanity: The role of self-definition and self-investment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 426–440. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2102
Reysen, S., & Katzarska-Miller, I. (2013). A model of global citizenship: Antecedents and outcomes. International Journal of Psychology, 48, 858–870. doi:
Roberts, B. W., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2001). The kids are alright: Growth and stability in personality development from adolescence to adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 670–683. doi:
Schwartz, S. H. (1992). Universals in the content of structure and values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in experimental social psychology: Vol. 25. New York: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60281-6
Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, 5–14. doi:
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Thistlethwaite, D. (1950). Attitude and structure as factors in the distortion of reasoning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 43, 442–458. doi:
Trocmé, A. (2007/1971). Jesus and the nonviolent revolution. Farmington, PA: Plough Publishing House.
Wason, T. C. (1966). Reasoning. In Foss, B. M. (Ed.), New horizons in psychology (pp. 135–151). Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1063–1070. doi: