Intergroup Conflict And Co-Operation
M. Sherif, O. Harvey, B. White, W. Hood & C. Sherif.
To investigate relations between groups. Specifically to see whether strangers brought together into a group with common goals will form a close group, and to see whether two such groups brought into contact and competition will become hostile towards each other.
22 white American lower-middle class 12 year-old protestant, psychologically adjusted boys.
The boys were transported in two groups to the Robber’s Cave National Park, Oklahoma. At the camp the two groups live separately. For five days they were given tasks to carry out together in order to help them bond. Each group was given a name (Eagles and Rattlers) to further strengthen their group identity. After stage one, four days were spent trying to encourage friction between the groups by means of competitions to win attractive prizes like penknives. In stage three, the groups were brought together, initially to watch films and then to take part in joint problem-solving activities. For example, in one activity, the water supply had been blocked by ‘vandals’ and the two groups worked to remove the blockage, in another, the groups had to pool their money to pay for a film they all wanted to watch, and in another they all had to work together to free…