Social Psychology -Inter/Intra Group Dynamics

Topics: Sociology, Social psychology, Psychology Pages: 6 (1051 words) Published: November 11, 2011
Examine a social psychology experiment and show how it relates to current literature and research on inter-and/or intra-group dynamics

Intergroup conflict
One determinant of intergroup conflict is the desire on the part of group member to gain positive outcomes for themselves and for their group

Competition can increase intergroup conflict

Intergroup conflict exaggerated
* results of in-group favourtism
* favour own group over others

intergroup conflict (created in summer camp) frequently begins with some form of realistic conflict

Realistic conflict theory
dates back to the beginning of the 20th century as one of the earliest of social psychological theories regarding prejudice and discrimination. Realistic conflict theory proposes that intergroup conflicts arise between groups as they compete over the same limited resources. This is a possible cause of prejudice and discrimination development within a society[1]. Generally useful for understanding intergroup conflict

- focuses on the relationship between peoples goals
- competitive or cooperative nature of their behaviour
- conflicting or harmonious nature of their relations

RCT was present in a classical social psychology experiment, commonly known as ‘Robbers Cave’ conducted by:

* Studied group behaviour
* -researcher carefully observed the behaviours of the children * Reason – to learn how group conflict developed and how it might be resolved among the children This was identified through 3 stages

* group formation
* intergroup conflict: group polarization exacerbated the conflict * conflict reduction: to reduce conflict, groups were introduced to subordinate goals – goals that both groups desire but were unattainable by one group by its own efforts (Sherif, 1966)

The study consisted of:
* Boys camp in Robbers Cave, Oklahoma
* Divided 22, 11 year old boys, middle class, white, psychologically well adjusted, stable homes 2 separate groups prior to arrival -SELF-CATEGORISATION occurs as:

* If people were merely catergorized into different groups, then the beginnings of in-group loyalty and out-group discrimination (Tajfel, 1982, cited in BBB, 2009)

* each group developed its own social norms and group structure * became quite cohesive, with strong positive SOCIAL IDENTITY

SHERIF ET AL.’S (1961) functional theory of intergroup relations: * introduction to group-oriented
* competitive activities
* instigated intergroup hostility
Descriptive record and systematic measure provide rich documentation of the effectiveness of cooperative interaction in reducing conflict and promoting cross-group relations

Groups went through the processes of storming and norming from * Bruce Tuckmans (1965) model, as
* each group had created names for themselves (the Rattlers and the Eagles). * They had also developed their own rituals and became socially cohesive.

Intergroup conflict was present when groups told about one another

When placed together
* substantial increase in:
* name calling
* prejudice
* and stereotypes of the out group
The heightened intergroup contact changed social structure within groups * developed even greater cohesion and social identity
* This was predicted by RCT, there was a marked deterioration in INTER-GROUP relations.

Results in the tendency for each of the competing groups to perceive the other extremely and unrealistically, negatively (HEWSTONE, 1990, cited in Standgor, 2004: 315) * occurred in robbers cave

however sheriff, changed the social context from intra-to inter-group, due to the groups being physically put closer to each other. (in particular, competitions) (CARR)

3RD STAGE: boys had to work together
* presented with subordinate goals
* working together produced:
* negative perceptions of group members gradually improved * some reduction of...
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