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Group Display as an Adaptive Response Essay Plan
1. Describe in detail Lynch mobs- Myrdal claims that the key cause of lynching in the US was fear
of the Negro, leading to white mobs turning to "lynch law" as a means of social control. Of all
documented cases, three quarters were black. Patterson suggests that they were more
active at this time because it was a period of social transition, after the collapse of the
slavery, entire community felt at risk. Threat model based on Blalock's power threat
hypothesis, which states that groups that pose a threat to the majority are more likely to be
discriminated against and be the subject of violent action.
2. Describe in detail Religious Rituals- Sosis 2004- believes that the natural costs of religious
rituals are the major feature that contributes to the success of religion, natural selection
favoured this development. Engaging in painful rituals, self flagellation, and an individual
signals commitment to a group. So, this promotes cooperation within the group, Zahavi and
Zahavi- the significant costs of these acts also serve as deterrents for anyone who doesn't
believe in the teachings of a particular group but wants to take advantage of its benefits.
3. Describe briefly xenophobia- mechanisms that prompt suspicion towards strangers-
favoured by natural selection- Shaw and Wong.
4. Critical Point 1: The theory about lynch mobs being an adaptive response has strong
evidence to support it. Boyd and Richerson found that groups in which cooperation thrived
were also those that flourished. Therefore, this explains why, when a majority group is more
at risk as a consequence of social change, individual self-interest would give way to
"groupishness." Consequently, proving this theory can be applied to real life examples.
5. Critical Point 2: However, there is difficulty testing the power threat model of behaviour
because lynch mobs are vague and poorly defined. Clark concluded that the evidence
contradicted the claim that the threat of "dangerous classes" in society was a major casual
factor in lynchings. In Sao Paulo, the percentage of Afro-Brazilians in the community was
negatively correlated with incidents of lynch-mob violence. As a result of this, it suggests
that the threat model cannot be applied universally.
6. Critical Point 3: There is strong evidence for the claim that the costs of religious commitment
contributes to the durability of religious groups. Sosis and Bressler found that religious
groups tended to impose twice as many costly requirements on their members as did
non-religious groups, and the number of costly requirements was positively correlated with
the lifespan of the group. As a result of this, this further supports the idea that group display
is an adaptive response.
7. Critical Point 4: This theory appears to be able to be applied universally. Chen studied the
Indonesian financial crisis of the 1990's and found that as the crisis worsened, Muslim
Indonesian families devoted a greater proportion of their dwindling financial resources to
religious observance. He proposed that in times of crisis, religious institutions provide social
insurance, minimising the risk by collectively supporting the neediest. Therefore, once again
this seems to prove the costly signalling theory by demonstrating there is lots of evidence
supporting the claim, both lab and field style.
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Critical Point 5: Group display appears to fit in with one of the key theories for aggression
within groups, deindividuation. Mullen found that as the lynch mob grew in size, the lynchers
became more deindividuated (less self-attentive) leading to a breakdown in normal
self-regulation processes, which led to an increase in the level of atrocities committed
against the victim.…read more