Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Haslam I 156
Competition/cooperation/Sherif: The evidence from the Boys’ Camp studies (>Robbers Cave Experiment/Sherif, Sherif et al. 1969(1)) clearly shows that competition leads to increased intergroup discrimination, and that cooperation towards superordinate goals leads to a reduction in intergroup discrimination. Nevertheless, Sherif and his colleagues report much anecdotal evidence to suggest
(a) that the boys showed ingroup favouring attitudes before the formal introduction of competition (see Sherif, 1966(2): 80; Sherif and Sherif, 1969(1): 239); and
(b) that, although cooperation towards superordinate goals reduced ingroup favouritism, it did not eradicate it completely.
VsSherif: This means that other social-psychological processes are clearly at play, ones that Sherif and his colleagues failed to address directly.


1. Sherif, M. and Sherif, C.W. (1969) Social Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.
2. Sherif, M. (1966) In Common Predicament: Social Psychology of Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.


Michael W. Platow and John A. Hunter, „ Intergroup Relations and Conflicts. Revisiting Sherif’s Boys’ Camp studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Class studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Sherif, Muzafer
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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