Roy Eidelson

Roy Eidelson is a psychologist who studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings.

The Individual-Group Belief Inventory

Much of my dangerous ideas research thus far has focused on differences in how individual group members view themselves and their group. To facilitate this work, I've spent several years developing and validating a brief self-report inventory--the Individual-Group Belief Inventory or "IGBI"--that measures the five beliefs in three inter-related spheres described below. Each sphere has 15 items, three per dangerous idea. All of the items are answered on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5). An unpublished manuscript describing some research using the IGBI is available HERE. The IGBI can be downloaded below.

Personal Beliefs about the Ingroup. One set of IGBI items measures the strength of the respondent's personal beliefs about a group to which he or she belongs (e.g., a national, ethnic, religious, or professional group). Personal beliefs about group circumstances have been shown to be especially important determinants--more so than self-interest alone--of a person's political attitudes and willingness to take action on behalf of the group, ranging from voting behavior to militant resistance. Of the three spheres measured by the IGBI, this is the one that I consider most important for most research purposes.

Personal Perceptions of the Ingroup's Collective Worldviews. This set of IGBI items measures how strongly the respondent thinks that his or her group holds each of the five collective worldviews. These communally-shared beliefs are an essential element of group culture, providing common narratives and frames of reference for understanding the world. The collective worldviews of a group exist independent of any specific individual; indeed these shared worldviews typically precede the entry of each member into the community. Group members often disagree with each other in the extent to which they think a particular collective worldview characterizes their group.

Personal Beliefs about the Personal World. This third set of IGBI items measures the strength of the respondent's core beliefs about his or her personal world. This sphere focuses on the individual's personal beliefs unrelated to his or her identity as a group member.

In my own work with colleagues I've had success administering the IGBI to members of a variety of different groups, both in the United States and overseas. I welcome others' using the IGBI in their research if they think it might be helpful. The inventories are copyrighted but are freely available for download in WORD format via the links below. These templates are the ones I've used when measuring dangerous ideas about national groups (I've also used the IGBI with slight modifications to measure beliefs about ethnic, racial, and religious groups). The WORD format make it easy to adapt the instructions and the scales for specific projects looking at other types of groups.

In order to use the IGBI effectively, it's necessary to make sure that your respondents have first clearly identified the group to which they belong (and about which they are thinking) before they complete either of the item sets asking them about their group. It is not necessary to administer all three sets of IGBI items for every research project. In general I have tried to do that, beginning with the personal beliefs about the personal world items, then presenting the items assessing personal beliefs about the group (after asking the respondent to identify a specific group), and then finally the items tapping personal perceptions about the group's collective worldviews. But in several cases I've used only the item set measuring personal beliefs about the ingroup because that's the set that most directly measures the individual's own views about his or her group in regard to issues of group vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness.

I would welcome hearing from people interested in using the Individual-Group Belief Inventory, and I'm happy to consult regarding questions about administering or scoring the IGBI, or about its psychometric properties. I'd also be very pleased to learn what researchers find when they use the IGBI, as well as any concerns or suggestions for how to improve the inventory. In general, email works best: