The Global Cohesion Lab

The Global Cohesion Lab

The goal of the Global Cohesion Lab is to find out how to make humanity our tribe. We analyse how global identity and global cohesion can be strengthened to motivate prosocial action on a global scale. Human group alignments are typically parochial, prioritizing regional, national, or local interests over global ones. While group identities with more narrowly defined groups are important, global identity might be a powerful prerequisite for tackling global problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, conflict, and extreme poverty. The need for shared identities that transcend national, religious, and ethnic boundaries is especially salient in the light of the currently rising geopolitical tensions all around the world and we believe that the question whether we can build strong forms of global identity is of central importance to the future of our species.


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Key Questions

Learn more about our approaches to the key questions guiding this research.

Our lab group has focused on the power of perceptions of globally shared transformative life experiences and perceptions that we all belong to a great human family in a real biological sense through common ancestors. Shared transformative experiences and shared biological essence are known in psychology and anthropology as the two pathways to identity fusion, a particularly strong form of social cohesion that motivates strong forms of progroup action. We have generated evidence that global sharedness of transformative life experiences and family ties can strengthen social bonds and prosocial action on a global scale. We have started to analyse the power of appealing to globally shared life experiences and globally shared biological kinship in speeches to motivate climate action and to mitigate tensions in conflicts. We aim to explore the power of these two pathways to fusion with humanity at large to tackle other global problems as well. 


Institutions have immense power to shape social identities. Our lab group explores what institutions can do and how they can be reformed to foster bonding with humanity and global cohesion. One area that has potential to strengthen global identity are education systems. Teaching perspective taking skills, sharpening perceptions for the global sharedness of transformative life experiences, teaching global history and global genetic similarities, and promoting intercultural exchange might foster global cohesion in the next generations and we aim to find out which education practises are most effective at fostering global cohesion. A second area that might have potential for contributing to global cohesion is participation in global institutions which is for instance related to the idea of a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). We aim to analyse whether these and other institutional reforms can contribute to global identity and global cohesion. 


Leaders and movements who seek to foster global cohesion and cooperation on the global scale are currently losing ground in many places against those who champion an aggressive us-against-them logic. Our lab aims to contribute to the question how proponents of global cohesion and unity can better organize themselves and rally support more effectively. How can they win back trust and support of those who seek stability and comfort in us-against-them narratives? How can they communicate the vision of new forms of global identity in the most appealing manner? How can leaders inspire other leaders to join their efforts to build more global cohesion? Are there new and more effective forms how leaders who want to build global cohesion can organise themselves? Our lab works directly with leaders to learn from their practical wisdom on these questions stimulating a mutual learning process between science and practice. 



Upcoming Events
Past Events


A.J. Jacobs | The world's largest family reunion...we're all invited! (featured in our article “Why Care for Humanity?”):                                                     

The world's largest family reunion ... we're all invited! | A.J. Jacobs

Minister Ralph Regenvanu | On global family ties and the fight against climate change (featured in one of our studies in progress):                                                

Ralph Regenvanu

Lord John Alderdice | On the unifying power of shared suffering (featured in our article “Can Appeals to Shared Suffering Provide a Recipe for Peace?”): 

Speech John Alderdice


Lukas Reinhardt | The great human family is not a naive dream | Deutschlandfunk Nova