štvrtok, 7. marca 2013

Henri Tajfel- Social Identity Theory

What is social identity theory?

Social identity theory is the way in which you can explain group behavior. It explain how people develop a sense of membership and belonging in particular groups, and how the mechanics of intergroup discrimination work.

          Henri Tajfel

Henri Tajfel  was a British social psychologist, best known for his pioneering work on the cognitive aspects of prejudice and social identity theory.  He believed that the cognitive processes of categorization contributed strongly to the psychological dimensions of prejudice. He had seen how large numbers of Germans– not just those with particular personalities – had given their support to Nazism and had held extreme views about Jews. Nazism would not have been successful without the support of ‘ordinary’ Germans. Tajfel sought to discover whether the roots of prejudice might be found in 'ordinary' processes of thinking, rather than in 'extraordinary' personality types.

Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination  ( 1970)

Tajfel  believes that the personality approach is inadequate in explaining prejudice and he also uses a social psychological approach.  Tajfel  argue that ‘competition’ is not a sufficient condition for inter-group conflict and hostility. 

Aim: His main aim was to investigate the minimal conditions in which prejudice and discrimination can occur In addition, he demonstrate that merely putting people into groups (categorisation) is sufficient for people to discriminate in favour of their own group and against members of the other group.

Participants: There were 64 boys between 14 and 15 years old from a comprehensive school in a suburb of Bristol.

Method: They came to the laboratory in separate groups of 8. All of the boys in each of the groups were from the same house so that they knew each other well before the experiment.
At first the boys were brought together in a lecture room and were told that experimenters are interesting in the study of visual judgements.  Forty clusters of varying numbers of dots were flashed on a screen and the boys were asked to record each estimate in succession on prepared score sheets.

Procedure: After the boys had completed their estimates they were told that in judgments of this kind some people consistently overestimate the number of dots and some consistently underestimate the number. 
  After the judgments had been made they were “scored” by one of the experimenters.
vParticipants were told that researchers were interested in other decision making processes & were going to take advantage of their presence to investigate these. Participants were told they were be grouped on the basis of the visual judgements they had just made.
The experimenters were given the instructions and introduction about this experiment. The task consists of giving  others participants points which would then be converted into real money at the end of the experiment.
Participants did not knew the identity of the individuals to whom they would be assigning
Each boy went to another room on their own, and was given a booklet containing 18 pages
 On each page there were 14 boxes containing two numbers each
The numbers in the top row of the matrix were the rewards and penalties to be awarded to one person and those in the bottom row were those to be awarded to another. They were not giving money to themselves.
At the end of the task each boy were brought back into the first room and would receive the amount of money the other boys had awarded him
The value of each point they were awarding was a tenth of a penny
Each row of the matrix was labeled # of over estimators and # of under estimators
The boys were required to make three types of choice.
There were in-group choices, where both top and bottom row referred to members of the same group as the boy. (other than himself)
There were out-group choices, with both top and bottom row referred to members of the different group from the boy.
There were intergroup choices, where one row referred to the boys’ own group and one row referred to the other group.

 Result: In the intergroup choices the large majority of participants gave more money to members of their own group. When the boys had an entirely in-group (or out-group) choice to make, they tended towards the point of maximum fairness (this would be 0 and –1 in our example). 

Conclusion: Discrimination occurred as a result of simply designating in-group and out-group membership. Choices were not made to maximize everyone’s winnings but instead to maximize group profits.

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