Experiments in Group Conflict by Muzafer Sherif
Social psychologist Muzafer Sherif became interested in attitudes and intergroup conflict in 1935. Sherif studied prejudice by introducing problem between groups of adolescents. Sherif was born in Turkey and moved to United States during 1929. He was a professor at the University of Oklahoma when he conducted his research in “The Robber's Cave Experiment: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation. Sherif's research has served as a model for studying the development and consequent reduction of prejudice in groups. The thesis of this paper is that conflict increases violence between groups but also that violence is reduced when groups are forced to work together to solve a common problem. Sherif's work shows that cooperation to reach goal is important. Conflict between groups is rooted deep in personal, social, economic, religious and historical forces. The experimental studies of groups that he started in 1948, he worked with Sussman, Huntington, Harvey, White, Hood and Carolyn Sherif. They wanted to work with groups of the informal type, where group organization and attitudes would come out naturally and spontaneously. The experiment took place in an isolated summer camp because it would make a wonderful experimental setting. This camping decision led to choosing boys around the age of 11 or 12 years old. They selected normal boys of homogeneous background who did not know the other subjects. The boys were not aware that they were in an experiment group. They conducted all their experiments through regular camp activities and games. Sherif observed the kids behavior and kept a record of it. The experiment started with the boys becoming a coherent group. They were all living together at one large bunk-house. They quickly formed bond with eachother and picked certain people to be their “best friends.” The object was to minimize the amount of personal attraction in the formation of the groups and were put...
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