Tajfel(1970) Experiments in intergroup discrimination

Study 1: To test the theory that in-group favouritism and out-group discrimination will be shown on the basis of categorisation into minimal groups.

Study 2: To validate study 1 using different criteria for categorisation (artistic preference).

Us racial, Belgium linguistic; Irish religious discriminations occurred decades later the massive social wake of prejudice and discrimination against Jews after the World War II; ethnic discrimination in Yugoslavia

1st experiment: 64 boys from same ‘houses’ at the same British state school- known each other very well. 14-15 years old boys.

2nd experiment: 3 groups of 16 boys

How was sample collected
From school in Bristol, UK

Laboratory experiment; repeated measure-each boy is in both the in-group and the out-group and the booklets are completed for boys in the in-group judged against boys in the out-group.

REPEATED MEASURE DESIGN is where each participant takes part in both conditions of the IV.

Data collection style
Self report

Study 1:Two conditions – randomly allocated ‘over-estimators of dots’ and ‘under-estimators of dots’

Study 2: Two conditions – randomly allocated ‘preference for Klee’ and ‘preference for Kandinsky’

The choice of points allocated on each matrix

Study 1: Boys were divided into ‘over-estimators of dots’ and ‘under-estimators of dots’ (but actually allocation was done randomly) creating four groups of eight boys in each condition.
Each boy was required to complete a booklet of matrices of rewards and penalties. They chose a number they wished to allocate to boy as indicated in the booklet.

Study 2: Boys were put into two groups according to their preference of artists, Klee and Kandinsky (but actually allocation was done randomly).
As for study 1 the boys completed a booklet (the matrices) of rewards and penalties but which was slightly alterred from that in study 1.

Study 1: Booklet with 18 matrices.
Matrices were:-
1)IN-GROUP CHOICE: in-group boy+in-group boy
2)OUT-GROUP CHOICE: out-group boy+out-group boy
3)INTERGROUP CHOICE: in-group boy+out-group boy

Study 2: Same matrices used as for study 1.
1)IN-GROUP CHOICE: in-group boy+in-group boy
2)OUT-GROUP CHOICE: out-group boy+out-group boy
3)INTERGROUP CHOICE: in-group boy+out-group boy

However, differed according to whether the top row was in-group or out-group; also according to whether the largest rewards were to the left or to the right of the matrix.

Study 1: For both in-group boys and both out-group boys, fair rewards were given. When given an in-group boy and an out-group boy, more points were given to the in-group boy than the out-group boy. This difference was statistically significant.

Study 2: The boys chose the maximum difference option, meaning their in-group got less overall, but much more than the out-group.

Tajfel concluded that people discriminate even when the groups are irrelevant and meaningless. Which proved his theory of Social Identity theory and minimal group paradigm

Ethics: Low-deception

Sample: Not representative-ALL boys; same school; same ethnicity

Ecological validity: Low-unusual tasks required to do in lab condition

Generalizability: Low-limited sample

Observer bias: Tajfel did not observe the subtle ways he was manipulating how the boys would behave. The reward or penalize in or out group members has set up in a way that the participants would most likely favor in-group. Also the in-group favoritism was slight and moderated by effort towards fairness.

Demand characteristics: Yes, participants thought it was a competition due to the artificial settings.

Ethnocentric bias: Boys showed that they favoured members of the in-group and discriminated against members of the out-group by choosing the maximum difference option and so they behaved in an ethnocentric way.

Data collection flaws: Only quantitative data was collected.

Individual because the boys were teenagers, who are mentally unstable and competitive, which might have caused the boys to show in-group favoritism.
Situational because the situation of being in a group is what caused the discrimination to occur.

Reductionist- Mere placement in a group, no matter how meaningless, causes people to discriminate.

Determinism because of the situation of grouping to a large extent determines that people will exhibit discriminatory behaviour.

Educate people about the dispositional theory and Social Identity Theory to teach them the importance of being included in a group and how it creates discrimination against out-group.

Key terms:

Authoritarian personality
Shows extreme respectful attitudes towards authority but act very hostile and intolerant to groups or individuals who are different from one.

A group that one considers oneself to be a member of.

A group that one does not considers oneself to be a member of.

Minimal group paradigm
Group identification based on almost nothing.

Social Identity Theory (SIT)
The view that social perception is influenced by social identity and social identity is a key part of personal identity.

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