Social Study In Detail - Tajfel (1970)

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Experiments In Intergroup Discrimination


Henri Tajfel


To investigate whether group membership is all that is required for discrimination to occur in the intergroup situation, testing Social Identity Theory.


Experiment 1: 64 boys aged 14 and 15 from a comprehensive school in Bristol.

Experiment 2: 48 boys who also knew each other.


Experiment 1:

The boys were told that they were taking part in a investigation in visual judgement. The boys, in groups of 8 (each having boys from the same house in the same form), were told to estimate the number of dots that flashed on the screen. They were then designated as either in the over- or under- estimator group randomly and then put in separate cubicles where they had a set of paired scored that they had to award other participants for their performance on the previous task. The boys only knew what group they were awarding points to, not which individual. They were told that the points had monetary value. The three types of choices when awarding points: in-group choices (points awarded can only be one in same group), out-group choices (points awarded can only be in other group) and intergroup choices (points awarded is a choice between groups).

Experiment 2:

There are two differences in this experiment to the first one:

The boys were categorised in groups of their preference between Klee or…


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