Episode 20: Conflict Resolution: A Classic Psychological Study

Conflict Resolution: what do gangs, asteroids, a giant octopus and little boys at a summer camp in Robber’s Cave State Park in 1954 have in common? This study was carried out years ago by Henry Tajfel and led him to the very important concept called Social Identity theory. Find out this week as we take a look at a study which taught us a great deal about intergroup conflict and resolution. This well known study also helps shed light on one of the roots of racism. This week on The Psych Files.
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Resources for this Episode

  • The article on conflict resolution: Sherif, M., O.J. Harvey, B.J. White, W.R. hood, and C W. Cherif (1961) Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation: The Robbers Cave Experiment. Norman: University of Oklahoma Book Exchange.
  • Inside Robbers Cave
  • The article by Tajfel on Social Identity Theory: Tajfel, H. and Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In S. Worchel and L. W. Austin (eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chigago: Nelson-Hall
  • Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. Scientific American, 23, 96-102.
  • Tajfel, H., Billig, M.G., Bundy, R.P., & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behavior. European Journal of Social Psychology, 1, 149-178.
  • Excellent video which summarizes the study and provides interviews with people involved in the study: Claudia Hammond – Henri Tajfel’s Minimal Groups
  • Social Psychology, 2nd Ed. Roger Brown’s great book: Social Psychology in which the study on conflict resolution is discussed.
  • Babe One of the best, warm hearted movies every made.

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