Identity Fusion Measures

The original pictorial scale of fusion

The pictorial fusion scale (Swann et al., 2009) was the first fusion scale developed. It is a better predictor of extreme pro-group intentions (e.g., fighting and dying for one’s group) than other measures of group identification (e.g., Mael & Ashforth, 1992). Past research has treated the scale dichotomously (i.e., people indicating total overlap are considered “fused” vs. all others considered “non-fused) or continuously (i.e., people can range from very weakly fused to very highly fused). It depends on the shape of the distribution (normal vs. bimodal). One disadvantage of the scale is that some participants interpret the circles too literally (i.e., “I live in America, therefore I’m ‘E’.” Another is that this pictorial measure is only a single item. Thus, we’ve found that the other two fusion measures tend to be less noisy predictors of outcomes. For all fusion scales, any group can be the target. Just specify it in the instructions.

The 7-item verbal scale of fusion

The verbal fusion measure (Gomez et al., 2011) is the most construct valid measure mainly on the basis of superior predictive validity and face validity. The scale has two subfactors (shared essence and reciprocal strength), although no study to date has examined their relationships to other variables separately.

The scale can also be framed in a “state” rather than “stable” way which is useful for examining experimental effects on fusion. Similar to the measurement of state self-esteem or affect, simply instruct participants to consider their relationship with their group in this very moment and add “Right now,” as a prefix to all items. Unless there’s not enough time for participants to complete seven vs one item, we suggest using this 7 item scale.

The Dynamic Identity Fusion Index (DIFI)

The DIFI is a single item measure of identity fusion. It can only be completed on a computer. The target group can be modified to represent any group. This measure is a slightly better predictor of extreme pro-group intentions than the pictorial fusion scale, but slightly worse than the verbal measure.

Moral Vitalism

Moral vitalism refers to a tendency to view good and evil as actual forces that can influence people and events. People who believe strongly in the moral vitalism concept (i.e., ‘moral vitalists’) tend to worry about possession by evil forces (demons, spirits), being contaminated by evil people, and their own mental purity. The scale is 5 self-report items — here.


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