Robbers Cave Experiment: A Critical Review
In this paper, the RACE will be explored in two parts: a) An overview of the study would be presented along with a critique of its findings and b) its generalization and application to real-world and Asian contexts will be formally discussed. Overview Of study Purpose and design The stud’s focus was on intercrop relations (Sheriff, AAA)-?specifically cooperation and conflict, where the intricate processes involved in members’ attitudes in two or more groups over a period of time were investigated.
Sheriff had intended for the experiment to progress as natural as possible, so as to trace the formation, functioning, attitude shifts and resulting consequences towards one’s own group (in-group), out-group and their members accurately from scratch. A large-scale experiment, the RACE took place In a sufficiently-isolated (I. E. , without interference or interaction with the outside world) field setting in the Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma, over a p of more than two weeks.
Sheriff employed a rigorous procedure in the selection of 24 participants, all of whom were 1 2-year-old males from middle-class background, Protestant, tit similar educational and socio-cultural background and no prior relationships with one another (Sheriff et al. , ICC). In order for greater experimental control, participants from “atypical” backgrounds were eliminated-?the boys had to be well-adjusted individuals who cannot come from broken families and were doing well psychologically, physically and academically.
The boys were later split into two groups. Staff members participated in the camp under the guise of “senior counselors”, whose duties were to observe first-hand group interaction behaviors among the boys. Participants were led to believe that they were taking part in a typical summer “camp”, and that the interaction processes which arose from “problem situations” were natural products of their existing circumstance or environment. Approach The RACE progressed in successive stages (Sheriff et al. 1 95th): 1) Experimental in-group formation, where both groups formed their in-groups and established relations (independently of each other) through activities involving cooperation and common goals; 2) Friction phase, where intercrop relations were thoroughly explored through experimentally- reduced through competitive activities that produced frustration for the losing group; 3) Integration phase, where both groups are brought together to reduce existing intercrop tensions and encourage harmony to attain “subordinate goals” (Sheriff et al. 15th) integral to a “problem” scenario. The goals, which were subsequently introduced, were of significant common appeal and which required both group’s equitable cooperation to obtain. If endings Hypotheses of the study, which are not elaborated here, were tested and validated by Sheriff and his team at the conclusion of the RACE. Instead, the following conclusions drawn (Sheriff et al. , IEEE) are mentioned for their relevance to the subsequent sections: Intercrop attitudes (e. G. Prejudices) are not merely products of individual personalities or frustrations brought to the situation. In-group solidarity heightened in the face of (real or imagined) competitive and reciprocally-frustrating activities, where outgrip were unfavorable stereotyped. Rather, interaction produced when working toward common subordinate goals served well to improve inter-group relations and cooperation. A critique To begin, the ARC has been recognized for its high ecological validity (Jackson, 1993).
However, it does not explain the process by which subordinate goals reduce inter-group hostility. It also does not fully acknowledge third party influences (e. G. , ‘bystander effect’ of camp counselors). In respond to this, Jackson (1993) proposed that further theories be advanced. Interestingly, research by Teasel and Turner (1986) (as cited in Brewer, 1975) subsequently challenged the ARC with its ‘social identity theory, noting that overt competition is not always necessary to produce intercrop inflict, and that competition is not always be a bad thing (Valentine, 2010).
Beyond these and ethical considerations, the RACE also had many other limitations: Its findings cannot be reliably generalized to the wider population due to its homogeneous and gender-bias (Brewer, 1975) sample-?similar studies later conducted in Russia, Lebanon and ELK produced differing results (Determent & Spencer, 1983). It seems that cultural difference IS an essential variable (Kim & Meyers, 2012) that the RACE had overlooked. The age of the participants may have also influenced-?cognitively or behaviorally-?how he conflict or cooperation (I. . , interactions) played out. Furthermore, the presenting conflict situations had been staged and variables carefully experimentally-controlled for, which produced UN-realistic outcomes simplistic for real-world generalization. To a lesser extent, psychologists have pointed out that realistic intercrop conflicts were heavily determined by the degree of group identity and loyalty, and that if the two groups had failed in achieving the subordinate goals, the conflict could have exacerbated (e. . , blaming other party) instead of seeing relief (Brook, 2006). Application of incepts In consideration of the above, while the RACE is a landmark experiment that undoubtedly has its uses in theory (e. G. Generating future research; Brewer, 1975), blanket applicability unto real-world contexts would be an erroneous step to take. The ARC suggests that when resources are scarce, people should be especially in-group-biased (Campbell, 1965).
Indeed, this phenomenon surpasses time and space. Examples are when the anti-Muslim riots broke out in Manner (AY Swashbuckler, 201 3) and negative stereotypes for the Muslim were perpetuated by rioting monks rallied fellow Buddhists to make cuisines with “our own people?’; and when the Nazi regime in the 1 sass propagated Aryan propaganda and oppressed the entire Jewish race for “causing’ Germany’s economic problems.
Also, we can agree with Sheriff that inter- and intra-group attitudes are not mere extrapolations of individuals and their habits, for social-psychological phenomenon such as “grouping” (Smith & Mann, 1 992) imply the presence of hidden and complex processes behind group dynamics. Next, subordinate goals may not necessarily improve intercrop relations, as Sheriff et al. Claimed (1 IEEE). As mentioned, allure to attain these goals can result in mutual blaming frustration and shaming.
A good example would be global warming, a trans-boundary issue experienced by all countries. While the common threat is sufficiently real and joint problem-solving should be assumed, countries instead are not able to resolve the issue-?intercrop hostilities (e. G. China with the IIS) heightened as the competition (e. G. , for economic primacy) is too overwhelming. These suggests that interaction and intercrop relations are highly dynamic and susceptible to fluctuation. Lastly, let us not forget the instrumentality of ultra difference factors on group relations.
The RACE was conducted five decades ago using a racially-homogeneous sample. Modern globalizes societies have become “smaller” and more heterogeneous with technological advancements. Moreover, many parts of Asia–especially Southeast-Asia-?see highly-mixed communities comprising dozens of racial/religious groups, each with their unique sub-culture. As such, diversity of the wider population has to be considered and reflected in their appropriate context and in light Of today’s fast-changing world.