The Robbers Cave Experiment : A Theory Of Realist Conflict Within A Group Of Boys

The Robbers Cave Experiment : A Theory Of Realist Conflict Within A Group Of Boys

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Muzafer Sherif received his PhD in Psychology at Columbia University. He taught psy-chology at the University of Oklahoma, and sociology at Pennsylvania State University. He be-came well known from his early lab work, on the auto kinetic effect. The auto kinetic effect (Fi-ne, 2004), was the visual effect that was seen when an individual was placed in a darkened room and was shown a light source. That light source would appear to move, because of uncontrolled eye movements. Although Muzafer was famous for his lab work, some of his most brilliant works were done outside of the standard laboratory setting. Sherif took his work outside the laboratory to test a theory of Realist Conflict within a group of boys. This experiment (Fine, 2004), is one of Sherif’s best and most underrated pieces of works and it is the Robbers Cave Experiment. The Robbers Cave experiment was three part experiment, performed in the nineteen fifties, with stage one, stage two and stage three.
The first stage in The Robbers Cave experiment was the bonding stage. It was conducted with two groups of boys, with about twenty boys in each. For the first week the researchers sepa-rated the boys (Fine, 2004), and let them get to know the boys in their group. Neither group of boys knew about the other. The researcher during this stage focused on group bonding. Not only did they bond in during this time they came up with the team names. This (Fine, 2004), lead them to feel more confident and well respected with others in the group. So phase one helped unite the groups and helped with inter social grouping.
The second stage in the Robbers Cave experiment was called the Competition stage. In the beginning of this phase the researchers introduced the groups to one another...


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...linical gathering of people with minimal understanding of mental dis-orders, early maltreatment is directly linked to a dulled response to a psychological stress finding assignment. Also they have found that intergroup conflict is natural to human nature. Even though each group having no knowledge of the other group, when presented with tasks to do together, the boys still reacted negatively to positive, leisure time stimuli done together. Only when forced to overcome a problem together were they even able to begin to symbolize a whole, working, integrated group. It can even be said that the boys unjustly stereotyped each other into a class based on whether or not they were in a certain group. Each of these instances can and will lead us into having unfair and potentially dangerous and damaging conclusions to entire popula-tions if not properly worked with and cured.

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