The Robbers Cave Experiment
Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation. [Orig. pub. as Intergroup Conflict and Group Relations]
Publication Year: 1988
In this famous experiment, one of the earliest in inter-group relationships, two dozen twelve-year-old boys in summer camp were formed into two groups, the Rattlers and the Eagles, and induced first to become militantly ethnocentric, then intensely cooperative. Friction and stereotyping were stimulated by a tug-of-war, by frustrations perceived to be caused by the "out" group, and by separation from the others. Harmony was stimulated by close contact between previously hostile groups and by the introduction of goals that neither group could meet alone. The experiment demonstrated that conflict and enmity between groups can be transformed into cooperation and vice versa and that circumstances, goals, and external manipulation can alter behavior.
Some have seen the findings of the experiment as having implications for reduction of hostility among racial and ethnic groups and among nations, while recognizing the difficulty of control of larger groups.
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Introduction to the Wesleyan Edition
It is indeed an honor to provide an introduction to this full report on the very best of Muzafer Sheriffs great field experiments on intergroup conflict and conflict resolution. I accept this honor as a representative of my generation of social psychologists, testifying to Sherif's influence upon us. This allows me a ...
Preface to the Wesleyan Edition
We planned originally to present the Robbers Cave experiment first as a research report and then, after slight revisions, as a book. New commitments and new careers stalled the revisions, however, and postponed publication of the book indefinitely. A report of the study was circulated in multilithed form in 1954 and, ...
Preface to the Instituteof Group Relations Editions
The report of this large-scale experiment dealing with factors conducive to conflict and cooperation between groups was first released in August 1954 and was sent in multilithed form to colleagues active in small group research. Since then, it has appeared in condensed form in books and journals and has been presented in lecture ...
1. Integrating Field Work and Laboratory in Small Group Research
The study of small groups has become one of the most flourishing areas of research. The influences responsible for the increased preoccupation with small groups in various social sciences and psychology spring both from developments within various academic disciplines and from agencies instituted for devising practical solutions ...
2. Approach, Hypotheses, and General Design of the Study
The focal concern of this study is intergroup relations. As an experiment in social psychology, the study undertook to trace over a period the formation and functioning of negative and positive attitudes, as a consequence of experimentally introduced situations, of members of one group toward another group and its members. ...
3. Role of Staff; Subject Selection; Experimental Site
As specified in the statement of the approach, hypotheses, and general design (Chapter 2), the distinctive feature of this study is that subjects interacted with one another in activities that appeared lifelike to them in a natural setting—without being aware that they were being observed while interaction was going on. Therefore, ...
4. Experimental Formation of Ingroups
Before summarizing Stage 1, a few considerations common to the procedures of all three stages should be emphasized. One fact that will stand out in the rest of this report is that the stimulus conditions, the activities necessitated by them, and the places in which they were carried out were numerous and varied. In such a kaleidoscope ...
5. Intergroup Relations: Production of Negative Attitudes Toward the Outgroup
During Stage 1, the experimental conditions that were introduced at times when they had appeal value to the subjects and the interaction processes that arose produced two definite ingroup formations. In time, each group had a definite structure in terms of status for individual members. Each group had its name, symbols of ...
6. Intergroup Relations: Assessment of Ingroup Functioning and Negative Attitudes Toward the Outgroup
To ensure the validity of findings and to increase their precision, the plan of this experiment on intergroup relations specified that different methods of data collection would be used and the results checked against each other (see Chapter 2). On the other hand, it was noted that excessive interruption of the interaction processes ...
7. Intergroup Relations: Reducing Friction
At this stage of the experiment, we could undertake the main objective of our study, namely the reduction of intergroup friction. There were now two distinct groups in an unmistakable state of friction with one another. The groups exhibited, in word and deed, repeated hostility toward one another; they standardized ...
8. Summary and Conclusions
In this book we have presented an experiment on intergroup relations. The theoretical approach to the problem, the definitions of groups and relations between them, the hypotheses, the selection of subjects, the study design in successive stages, the methods and techniques, and the conclusions to be drawn are closely related. ...
Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 41 illus. 14 tables. 3 figs. 4 graphs.
Publication Year: 1988
OCLC Number: 743046669
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Robbers Cave Experiment