Sherif Theory

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History is wrought with ingroup and outgroup hostility and violence. Many researchers have examined the behaviors of hostile and violent groups; however, the studies lacked a generalized approach for reducing intergroup conflict. Sherif (1958) was frustrated with the lack of a generalized approach and began a series of experiments to identify an approach that consistently works. His 1958 paper was the culmination of three independent experiments and continued laboratory testing, which identified an approach that worked.
1958 – Theories and Past Research
To help guide his research, Sherif (1958) gained an understanding of the social norms and dynamics of existing intergroup relationships. The first of these relationships was the relationship
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Sherif accomplished this by introducing the first series of independent variables, various competitive opportunities where one group had to win over the other to get the desired prize. The dependent variable was the ability to create an us vs. them mentality, to create intergroup conflict. The results of this experiment were that the groups displayed the same negative behaviors identified in the intergroup conflicts explored in the paper; derogatory statements about and harassment towards the other group, negative stereotyping, physical aggression, and the eventual distancing of themselves from one another. The ingroup cohesion grew stronger as the outgroup hostility…show more content…
(2017) identify the positive results of past studies at the micro- and mesolevel of using intergroup contact situations but emphasize that the studies have not been successful at showing macrolevel improvements. The authors posit that macrolevel changes have been understudied, especially as they relate to hostile and overtly violent intergroup conflicts. The authors emphasize the need for further research on intergroup contact between hostile and violent groups and finding an approach that lessens the intensity of hostile and violent intergroup interactions worldwide.
An approach considered by the authors for reducing intergroup conflict is the same approach used in negotiations. Citing several books on positive negotiation tactics, including Galluccio (2015), the authors explain that when two parties successfully negotiate a resolution - whereby the parties are content with the outcomes - the parties are more amicable towards one another in future encounters. The authors refer to specific real-world examples of political world peace negotiations where this was the
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