Group Display as an Adaptive Response

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  • Xenophobia
  • a fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners is in virutally every group of animals displaying higher forms of social organisation.
  • natural selection has favoured those genes that cause humans to be altruistic towards members of their own group but intolerant towards outsiders. 
  • It is adaptive to exaggerate negative stereotypes about outsiders, as the overperception of threat is less costly than its underperception
  • Xenophobic Displays on the Terraces
  • Evidence been found of xenophobic tendencies in their analysis of the group displays of italian football crows. Northern League led to the growth of extreme right wing movements characterised by racist chants and only antisemitic banners.
  • During a match the roman salute was performed in the direction of LAzio's extremist fans. Intended as an expression of solidarity .
  • Territoriality
  • Threat Displays
  • Protective response to an invasion of ones territory.
  • Common in many animal species
  • This form of territorial display has a human equivalent... Samoa adopted the manu siva tau war chant before Rugby World Cup which intimidates opponents and makes the home team more aggressive towards them.
  • Aggressive displays would have been adaptive for our distant ancestors because they allowed groups to defend valuable resources associated with their territory.
  • Testosterone and Territorial Behaviour
  • Animals display more aggression when they have more testosterone.
  • Football teams playing at home were more likely to win because players have huge testosterone boost before a match. - did not occur before away games. 
  • Team members who felt that the burden of defending the territory lay with them had higher levels of testosterone compared to other players.


  • Research Support for Xenophobic Displays
  • Evidence was provided to support the link between xenophobia and violent displays among Hungarian football crowds .
  • Racist conduct of core of extremist supporters led to an increase of spectators violence in general, and xenophobic outbursts in particlar.
  • Territoriality
  • Among football fans, crowd support was rated as the most significant factor contributing


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