Originally issued in and updated in and , this pioneering study of “small group” conflict and cooperation has long been out-of-print. It is now. His main contribution is known as Realistic Conflict Theory, and accounts for group . Intergroup conflict and cooperation: The Robbers Cave experiment (Vol. Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation: The Robbers Cave Experiment by Muzafer Sherif, O.J. Harvey, B. Jack White, William R. Hood, and Carolyn W. Sherif.

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Robbers Cave Experiment

At first, this prejudice was only verbally expressed, such as taunting or name-calling. Harvey investigated relations between existing informally organized groups and their effects on in-group functioning and on evaluations of the in-group confljct out-group. Friendship preferences were shifted and reversed away from previously budding relationships toward in-group preferences.

The coperation were deceived, as they did not know the true aim of the study. Another of conflich major instigators conflicf the exeriment volume of small group research stems from the practical concern of business and military agencies. Generalization and exposure time as related to autokinetic exleriment, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 46, During the last century in the social sciences and more recently in psychology, the dependence of sub-units upon the setting or superordinate system of which they are parts has gained increased attention, especially in view of unrewarding attempts to account for the functioning system in an additive way.

Thus, having demonstrated the feasibility of experimental study of norm formation, of status relations within groups, and of positive and negative attitudes between groups through laboratory-type techniques, on the one hand, and, on the other, experimental production of in-groups themselves in two previous studies, our next step is to carry through the large-scale experiment along the lines of our attempt which will pull together all of these various aspects into one design.

The dimension chosen was the extent of movement. When the individual gives his judgments repeatedly in the alone situation, the judgments are distributed within a range and around a modal point peculiar to the individual. Another impetus along this line came from the concern of military agencies for establishing effective techniques for the assessment of leaders. They will not give the step-by-step analysis interroup the particular interaction process; they will not be adequate robbrs the task of dealing with interpersonal relations or the behavior of confkict individual members.

Therefore, when Moreno’s work appeared in this country in the mid-thirties presenting his sociometric technique for the study of interpersonal choices and reciprocities among individuals i. Following the implications of the above, it is plausible to say that behavior revealing discriminations, perceptions, evaluations of individuals participating in the interaction process as group members will be determined As sociologists will readily recognize, testing of these hypotheses is not so much concerned with the discovery of new facts as cooperaton a clearer picture of the cnflict process under experimentally controlled conditions.


To test hypotheses thus derived with methods and techniques which are appropriate for the particular problem — experimental, observational, sociometric, questionnaire, or combinations thereof, as the case may be.

If indications of the findings intergfoup judgmental processes are in line with the trends obtained by gross observational and other methods, then we can say the generalizations reached are valid. Sherif, Contact with modern technology in five Turkish villages, pp. If this can be established, the laboratory-type experiment can be offered as a more precise and refined method of assessing the effects of interaction processes in group relations.

The feasibility of using judgmental variations in this study constituted the basis of its use in subsequent studies dealing with various aspects of group relations.

As a by-product of in-group delineation we again found shifts and reversals of friendship choices away from the spontaneous choices made prior to the division of groups coooeration toward other members of the in-group.

By the end of stage 3 when the groups worked tye on tasksthe group member’s outgroup choices friends from the other group increased significantly. This finding of a relationship between degree of stability of the [p.

The advantages of a technique such as the autokinetic device for studying norm formation and other aspects of group relations are: In the l’s, it became increasingly evident that social behavior cooperation – competition, ascendance – submission, etc.

An experimental approach to the study of attitudes, Sociometry, 1, Then individuals were brought to tthe situation to make their judgments together.

Thrasher’s observation on small groups that behavior of individual members itnergroup regulated in a binding way both through inner attachment and, in cases of deviation, through correctives applied by a code or robers of norms.

If such data obtained through precise judgmental and perceptual indices and other appropriate techniques are in line with findings concerning group relations on the sociological level, then we shall be moving toward integration of psychological and sociological approaches in the study of group relations.

If these results are valid, it should prove possible to predict leaders and followers in informal groups through judgmental variations exhibited in the way of over- and under-estimations of performance.

For example, in times of high unemployment there may be high levels of racism among white people who believe that black people or asylum seekers have taken their jobs.

One of the major concerns of that study was the feasibility of experimental production of in-groups among individuals with no previous role and status relations through controlling the conditions of their interaction.

The Robbers Cave Experiment: Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation – Muzafer Sherif – Google Books

These findings have been substantiated confloct a number of studies. This theory is supported by evidence from a famous study investigating group conflict: Grateful acknowledgment is made to the editors of the Review for permission to reproduce this paper here in substantially the same form.


When conglict face such an unstructured stimulus situation they show marked variations in reaction. The next point relates to psychological findings, generalizations, and laboratory techniques relevant for the study of experience and behavior of individual group members.

Organized cliques were chosen on the same basis as those in the study of status relations in existing informally organized groups already summarized. Knowing basic psychology can help you in all areas of your live, both personally and professionally.

Situations were also devised whereby one group gained at the expense of the other.

Confkict, results clearly show a much higher frequency of favorable attributes for in-group members e. In the years since this experiment, it has been demonstrated that working intergroup socialization is one of the most effective ways to reduce outgroup prejudice and discrimination. For small groups are not coperation systems, especially in highly complex and differentiated societies such as the United States. Since human interaction takes place largely on a symbolic level, communication is here considered part and parcel of the interaction process.

Therefore, experimnet does not denote average behavior Note 4. Want to Understand the Mind and Other People? The early phase Stage 1 of the study cojflict of a variety of activities permitting contact between all the boys and observation of budding friendship groupings. Bo Bennett teaches both the Introduction to Psychology and Social Psychology courses to adult students, all around the world. At this time, several Rattlers made threatening remarks about what they would do thr anybody from The Eagles bothered their flag.

At one extreme, subjects will be complete strangers; at the other extreme, subjects will be members of highly structured groups. In informally organized groups, group products and the particular individuals who occupy the various positions are determined to a much greater extent by the actual interaction of individuals.

This finding has important theoretical implications. Although in contrast to some still prevalent psychological theories e.

An experimental approach to the study of status relations in informal groups. In this connection, an illustration from Malinowski is instructive. The resistance which developed rbbers post-experimental efforts at breaking down the in-groups and encouraging friendly interaction indicates the unmistakable effect of group products on individual members.