Why Do Groups Tend to Favour Their Own Members and Display Bias and Discrimination Toward Other Groups? Discuss with Reference to the Minimal Group Paradigm

Topics: Sociology, Social psychology, Psychology Pages: 6 (2116 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Introduction
Every country, region, society or community consists of a variety of groups. Every individual belongs to a group. We socialise in groups and we also work in groups (Vaughan & Hogg 2008).The groups we find ourselves in has a profound effect on who we are, what we become and (or) what we believe in. How do we define a group? Forsyth (2010) states that there is no a universal definition for describing a group. Let us consider university students working on a dissertation; they can be considered as a group. Social psychologists will argue that students in a specific faculty should be considered as a group while other psychologists will argue that a group will be students in the university. One thing we can all agree on is that a group consists of two or more members that share the same values, morals or ideology. Forsyth describes a group as two or more individuals who are connected by norms. Groups vary in terms of size, purpose and interest. This differentiation leads to different groups feeling superior or more important than other groups. This feeling of being superior leads to discrimination between groups. This essay unfolds why favouritism only occurs within group members. It will also discuss the act of discrimination and bias with evidence extracted from secondary sources.

Popular groups in the society include; sport teams, organisations, ethnic groups, political groups, religious groups, charity group and many more. Quite a number of people in the society would agree they belong to one group or the other or classify themselves as a member of a group whereas others may disagree and say it’s natural that they are categorised, for instance people in ethnic minority groups can argue that they didn’t choose what ethnicity they wanted to be, others can make the same point when it comes to gender groups. Nevertheless the people who tend to see themselves belonging to a group have number of reasons as to why they joined that particular or why they are part of it. Some may happen to join a group to feel the sense of belongingness, Baumeister and Leary (1995) stated (as citied in Martin et la, 2010) that the need of belongingness is one of the most crucial parts of human motives. Social psychologist (Williams, 2001) agrees with Beaumeister and Leary as they carried out series of experiment and concluded that people that are ‘simply ignored’, marginalised or excluded from social interaction tend to act negatively to such treatment. A Strong Bond Friendship can derive from simply being a group member therefore people in that may feel lonely or marginalised join group to form friendship. For example a student that has just started university may join the student union to make friends,’ these are very few aspects to why people join groups. Other psychological reasons include security/protection. Group setting can create a safe supportive environment to its members giving them opportunity to take risk which they’re unlikely to do so by themselves due to anxiety ( Martin. et la, 2010) Furthermore being a member of a group can be very optimistic towards its members individually and as a group in different aspects. Individuals who may experience low self-esteem may greatly benefit from being a member of a certain group thus being involved in such is likely to enhance one’s self esteem. Group ‘identify together, work together, have increased power and are more likely to achieve their goal’, in a nutshell, groups cause unity and through this helps one another attain their goals. Social groups has an impact on every element of society’s social structure ( Sheehy.,2006) Most of social change in which the society has experienced are down to groups coming together and making their voices heard, popular group which happen to bring about social change are political parties i.e. pressure groups. The eco-living group are a great example whereby group have brought about some changes in the society, through...
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