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-22 fifth grade boys participating in what they think is a two-and-a-half week summer camp. Divided into two groups of 11, and neither knows the other exists
Competition and Intergroup Conflict
-first phase: two groups independently engage in activities designed to foster group unity. A consistent hierarchical structure also emerged within each group
-second phase: groups were brought together and participated in a tournament. The competitive nature of the tournament was designed to encourage each group to see the other as an impediment to the fulfillment of its own goals and hence as a foe, which is what happened
-The two groups hurled insults at each other, but the intergroup hostility was not limited to words
Reducing Intergroup Conflict through Superordinate Goals
-Third phase: assessing ways to reduce conflict between the two groups
-first try was to bring them together in noncompetitive settings to see if hostility lowered, which it did not
-next try was to make them work together to solve a number of crises
-superordinate goals-> goals that transcend the interests of any one group and that can be achieved more readily by two or more groups working together
-Study results: neither differences in background nor differences in appearance nor prior histories of conflict are necessary for intergroup hostility to develop; competition against outsiders often increases group cohesion; to reduce the hostility that exists between certain groups, make them work together to fulfill common goals
-Research has shown that our reactions to different groups of people are to a surprising degree guided by quick and automatic mental processes that we can override but not eliminate
-Study: Presented participants ranging from high to low scored on the Modern Racism Scale a set of words, one at a time, so briefly that they could not be consciously identified. Hypothesized that although the stereotypical words were presented too briefly to be consciously recognized, they would nonetheless prime participants stereotypes of blacks. Next presented the participants with a written description of an individual who acted in an ambiguously hostile manner. Results indicated that he was seen as more hostile-- and more negative overall-- by participants who had earlier been primed by words designed to activate stereotypes of blacks. This result was found equally for prejudiced and non-prejudiced participants. To demonstrate that prejudiced and non-prejudiced individuals differ primarily in their controlled cognitive processes, participants were asked to list characteristics of black Americans. Found that the prejudiced used more negative words than non-prejudiced participants
-Study: participants were exposed to white and black faces. When shown faces for only 30 milliseconds, the participants exhibited greater activation in the amygdala (which registers emotional response) after exposure to black faces than after exposure to white faces. But when faces were shown for 525 milliseconds, participants showed no difference in amygdala activation, suggesting that participants (all of whom avoid prejudice) initially had an automatic response to black versus white faces that they then tried to control
-Study: White participants were shown a white face or black face. Immediately after viewing a face, participants were shown an object and asked to identify it as a gun or a tool as quickly as possible. Results: Participants identified guns more quickly and mistook tools for guns more often after being primed with black faces. Conclusion: Implicit stereotypes influence identification and categorization
o Developed as a reaction against the economic perspective: in particular, researchers wanted to argue that prejudice can arise even in the absence of any real competition over resources/power (intrinsic to people even when there's no competition)
Not saying economic perspective is wrong, just incomplete
o Psychologist Henri Tajfel
Ingroup favoritism (IGF)
Tendency to show favoritism towards members of your own group
Exception is system justification jost theory
o Henri Tajfel's insight (people already knew IGF was a thing)
Tajfel, like other psychologists before him, recognized that there are multiple reasons why IGF effects are so common, including:
Historical context (e.g. memory for previous wars) - people have selective memories (Americans remember things about American history that place themselves in favorable light)
Competition for scarce resources - Tajfel recognized that economic perspective was right
Familiarity - mere familiarity effects (people prefer what's familiar to them)
However, Tajfel wondered whether one would still obtain evidence for IGF effects even when these contributing elements are stripped away**** (this is Tajfels major insight)
Tajfel was particularly taken with the idea that mere categorization, in and of itself, would be sufficient to trigger IGF effects
o Why the "mere categorization" idea is important
Even superficial and seemingly meaningless distinctions between individuals can become the basis for collective identity" - Tajfel
o Minimal Group Paradigm
Tajfel would sort people into groups based on meaningless criteria
A brief consideration of some different minimal group paradigms
The "Klee vs Kadinsky" paradigm
• Two images where 50% prefer one, 50% prefer other
Dot estimation: "overestimators" vs. "underestimators"
Coin flip (pure random assignment)
• The most "minimal" of all of the minimal group paradigms
o Key findings from the minimal group paradigm (IGF effects)
In some paradigms, you give each group some amount of money and tell them to decide how to distribute it
Typical finding is people award somewhat more money to own group than others (~55 - 45)
Studies are controlled for self interest (this effect is not due to greed)
When ask to rate traits, you give your group slightly more favorable traits
The act of being sorted into a group that you now value (even though it's random) gives your self-esteem a boost
"If I belong to a group it must be good"
People want to be a part of groups that are of some positive value (boosts self esteem even if it's a randomly selected group)