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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.
Juliet completed her PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Dundee in 2011. Her PhD research concerned the act of help-seeking, and investigated whether group members may use help-seeking as a tool to manage and enhance their group's image in the eyes of others. Juliet then spent four years as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Dundee, working on Professor Fabio Sani's ESRC-funded Health In Groups project. This project investigated the relationships between membership of social groups (family, community, sports groups, etc.) and health. Juliet joined NTU in August 2015. Juliet is a member of the Individuals, Identities, and Cultures research group. In general terms, Juliet's research interests lie within the domains of Social Identity Theory and Self Categorisation Theory, and the implications of group membership for people's everyday lives. This includes intergroup / intragroup helping and help-seeking, the impact of groups on health and well-being, gender identity, national identity, and online identities.
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, Juliet. "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