Identity are the characteristics that you believe define you as an individual. This can include characteristics of yourself and your perceived membership in social groups. The following are illustrative examples of identity.
The belief that you are an independent person who is defined by your own qualities as opposed to your memberships in groups. Individualists tend to identify with other individualists and aspects of society and culture that are individualistic.
FamilyYour immediate and extended family.
FriendsIdentifying with your friends and social circles.
LanguageLanguage is the foundation of thinking and is an extremely pervasive element of identity. This may not be obvious when you are surrounded by your native language but becomes apparent when you're immersed in a foreign language. For example, if you go on vacation in Tokyo but don't speak Japanese you may suddenly strongly identify with anyone who can speak English.Identifying with a way of thinking about the universe such as pragmatism.
PersonalityElements of your personality that you feel define you or give you things in common with others. For example, an optimist who identifies with other optimists.
ReligionOn a global basis, around 86% of the world's population belong to a religion.
RaceThe perception that there are groups that have related genetic ancestry that are labeled with broad terms such as "Asian."
EthnicityA shared background such as nationality or culture.
NationalityBelonging to a nation.
CultureCulture is identity based on shared experiences and traditions. This exists at many levels such as national culture, subculture and super culture.
CommunityIdentity based on a sense of place such as your hometown or neighborhood.
DisabilityA sense of solidarity or connection to the disability community.
ClassSocioeconomic class such as working class or middle class.
Social StatusElements of social status such as appearance, wealth, style, personal presence and youthfulness.It is common for products and services to attempt to sell elements of identity such as social status or peak experiences. For example, an individual who views a collection of shoes as an element of their identity.
PoliticsPolitical views and affinity for a political party. Some nations are sharply divided along political lines such that this becomes a pervasive part of identity.
LifestyleLifestyle such as an urban or rural way of living.
GenderMasculine and feminine characteristics.
Sexual OrientationThe gender or genders to which an individual is attracted.
ProfessionYour profession such as Engineer or Artist.
HobbiesHobbies such as someone who strongly identifies as a surfer.
MembershipsMemberships such as a student who belongs to a university.
AccomplishmentsAccomplishments such as graduating from university.Identifying with people you've never met and fictional characters. For example, identifying with a hero of film such that you view yourself as having similar qualities or aspirations.
ExperiencesExperiencing something can cause you to identify with it. For example, playing hockey can cause an individual to identify with the sport.
ConceptIdentifying with a concept such as freedom.
ExpressionIdentifying with creative expressions such as art or music that captures how you feel.
Digital ExperiencesThe ability to assume an identity in digital environments that may differ from your own. For example, the ability to become a character in a game that somehow feels part of your actual identity.
NotesThe list above is not exhaustive.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about identity.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
ReferencesWIN-Gallup International. "Global index of religion and atheism." Press release (2012).
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.