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3. Classic Study: Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Sherif’s Robbers Cave study (1954), a classic study on prejudice which explored Realistic Conflict Theory in a field experiment involving two groups of boys at a summer camp. We take a closer look at Sherif’s procedure and discuss how his findings suggest that prejudice is not related to personality but arises out of a particular social context where a limitation of resources leads to conflict between separate social groups.
In this course, Dr Juliet Wakefield (Nottingham Trent University) discusses prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. We begin, in module one, with a definition of these three concepts, before moving on, in module two, to explore some social psychological explanations for prejudice, focussing in particular on the ‘authoritarian personality’ and Realistic Conflict Theory. Next, we think about a classic study exploring the latter – Sherif’s Robbers Cave study – in module three. Module four focusses on Social Identity Theory as a way of explaining how ingroup-outgroup dynamics can serve to fuel prejudice. In module five, we think about a specific target of prejudice by considering sexism or gender discrimination, while module six looks at the potential effects of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination on those targeted and their wider communities.
Dr Juliet Wakefield is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Dr Wakefield is a member of the Groups, Identities, and Health research group and has research interests in the social identity approach and implications of group membership. Some of Dr Wakefield’s recent publications include ‘Communities as conduits of harm: a social identity analysis of appraisal, coping and justice-seeking in response to historic collective victimisation’ (2022) and ‘The link between family identification, loneliness, and symptom severity in people with eating disorders’ (2022).
Cite this Lecture
Wakefield, J. (2019, September 27). Social Influence – Prejudice - Classic Study: Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/prejudice/classic-study-sherif-s-robbers-cave-experiment
Wakefield, J. "Social Influence – Prejudice – Classic Study: Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiment." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 27 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/prejudice/classic-study-sherif-s-robbers-cave-experiment