Intergroup conflict and cooperation: The Robbers Cave experiment

Sherif, Muzafer; Harvey, O.J.; White, B. Jack; Hood, William R.; Sherif, Carolyn W.
American Sociological Review

Group = (1) common goal that fosters interaction, (2) interaction influences individual behavior, (3) group hierarchy & role relations stabilize, (4) clear delineation of in vs. out, (5) standardized norms regulating relations and activities – norms specify the acceptable range of behavior. “the extent of the range of acceptable behavior varies inversely with the significance or consequence of the norm for the identity, integrity, and major goals of the group” (p. 10) “judgments and perceptions are not merely intellectual and discrete psychological events. all judgments and perceptions take place within their appropriate frame of reference . . . observed behavior an be adequately understood and evaluated only when studied within its appropriate frame of reference or system of relations” (pp. 12-13) – there are internal and external factors influencing behavior – if external stimuli are well structured, they will largely determine perception; if they are ambiguous, internal & social factors take on greater influence – children initially follow rules because important authority figures tell them to – “but when the child is able to participate in activities and grasp the reciprocities involved and required of the situation, then new rules arise in the course of interaction” (p. 17)