Evaluate social identity theory, making reference to relevant studies

question

Introduction
answer

-Social identity theory is a theoretical framework developed by Tajfel and turner in the year of 1979 with the purpose of analyze inter group relations. -It can be linked to the idea of self-categorization theory. – It can also be defined as the part of one’s self concept based on the knowledge of membership in social groups in combination with the value and emotional significance attached to the membership. -The social identity theory there involves three cognitive processes, social categorization meaning gender, race and social class, social identification meaning that people identify with a particular social group based on their in-group norms, and last but not least, social comparison meaning that people compares the members of their in-groups with members of the out-groups. – THESIS: Despite many strengths of the social identity theory, there are still some limitations such as in the experiment of Tajfel in 1970 and in Robbers cave experiment (1961).
question

Tajfel 1970 ( minimal group paradigm)
answer

One exmaple that despite many strengths of the SIT but there are still some limitations is the experiment of Tajfel in 1970. The AIM: of this experiment was to investigate if boys placed in a random groups based on an arbitrary task (minimal group) would display in-group favoritism and inter-group discrimination.
question

Procedure Tajfel
answer

-They had 64 schoolboys between the age 14-15 from a state school of the United Kingdom. -The experiment was performed in a psychology laboratory, the boys were divided into eight group: they all knew each other well before the experiment. – It was showed a bunch of varying number of dots, flashed onto a screen and the boys had to estimate the number of dots in each bunch. – The experimenters randomly assigned the boys to groups categorized as \”over-estimator\” and \”under-estimator\”. —–Consequently, the boys had to allocate small amounts of money to the other boys in the experiment. – They only knew if the boy belonged to the same or different category. -In a second experiment, boys were randomly allocated to groups based on their supposed artistic preferences for two painters. -After, they had to give money to the other boys.
question

Results and Evaluation:
answer

-As results: a large majority of the boys gave more money to member of their own category or the in-group instead of the other category or the out-group. -In the second experiment, the boys tried to maximize the difference between the two groups. -The results illustrates that the boys adopted a strategy of in-group favoritism and inter group discrimination supporting the predictions of SIT. -The experiment contributed to the development of social identity theory in which states that the social groups and categories to which we belong are an important part of our self-concept. -The experimenters revealed that a \”minimal group\” is all that is necessary for individuals to exhibit the act of discrimination against other groups, in this case, out-groups. -However, the experiment has been criticized for artificially and demand characteristics. The boys may have interpreted the task as a sort of competitive game and therefore reacted the way they did.
question

Robber’s Cave 1961
answer

-Another example of the SIT is the Robber’s Cave experiment (1961). -Muzafer Sherif is known because of his psychological understanding of groups and its members. – It was argued that inter group conflict occurs when two groups are in competition for limited resources. -The robbers Cave experiment aim was to support the theory of Muzafer Sherif.
question

Procedure:
answer

-In a camp in Oklahoma, twenty-two 22 boys were unknown to each other and all were from white middle-class background ( none of them knew each other prior the study) – The only thing thet shared was a protestant, two parent background. -the experiment was divided into three stages. -the first stage was \”in-group formation\”, the boys were split into two approximately equal groups based on similarities. -each group didn’t know of the other group’s presence. -the second stage was the \”friction phase\”: the groups were entered in competition with one another in various activities such as basketball ans baseball. – Valued prized were awarded to the winners. This caused both groups to develop negative attitudes and actions towards the out-group. -the final stage was the \”integration stage\”: the tensions between the groups were reduced through teamwork.
question

Results and Evaluation:
answer

-The experiment successfully demonstrates how competitions works all over the world. There is a lot of evidence that when people compete for limited resources such as jobs there is a enemy between them. -Furthermore, the experiment was a field experiment meaning that it contained high ecological validity. -However: the two groups of boys in the study were artificial not necessarily reflecting in real life. -the results cannot be considered generalized to real life due that the research only used 12 year old middle class boys excluding girls and boys.
question

Conclusion:
answer

-Therefore, SIT can be used to explain how we form our individual and group identities in terms of \”in\” and \”out\” groups.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member