Group Displays of Aggression as an Adaptive Response

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Group Displays of
Aggression as an
Adaptive Response
Lynch Mobs
Lynch Mobs- Used by whites on blacks to maintain white supremacy.
Social transition and the need for conformity
Mydral- Fundamental cause of lynching was the fear of the Negro, and lynching became a means
of social control, and trying to prevent change. Black people were no longer slaves anymore and
white people feared this change.
Patterson- Lynch mobs were more active during this period (1930s-60s) because it was a time of
major social transition, the collapse of slavery, and the whole community felt at risk. When a
group feel at risk, survival becomes the most important. This explains why no one stopped the
lynching or stood up to say what was wrong as people displaced their personal feelings against
lynching in favour of group cooperation.
Boyd and Richerson- groups in which cooperation thrived were the groups that flourished,
explains why when a majority group feels threatened as a consequence of social change,
individual self-interest would give way to feelings of "groupishness". This explains why no one
stopped the lynching or stood up to say what was wrong as people displaced their personal
feelings against lynching in favour of group cooperation. Showing when big change comes the
group come together to protect themselves...explains why lynching lasted for so long without
anyone doing anything about it.
Lynch mobs and Deindivduation
Mullen: found that as the size of the lynch mobs grew the more deindivduated the lynchers
became, which led to a breakdown in normal self-regulation and they were no longer inhibited by
social norms, the more violent the level of atrocities committed against the victim.
Power Threat Hypothesis

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The racist myth of Negros that the black men wanted to rape white women was used in defence of
lynching. Blalock (power threat hypothesis) says that group who are perceived as threats to the
majority are more likely to be discriminated against and the subject of violence. Lynching was a
form of extreme discrimination brought about because of perceived racial threat.
It is difficult to test what counts as a social threat, there is no clear indication of what a social
threat is.…read more

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