Psychology Theories

Tags: psychology

Lack of awareness about specific things and people can form a wrong understanding of the overall situation and the formation of prejudice in our minds that can create hostile conflict situations. Muzafer Sherif is a psychologist, who conducted different experiments connected with prejudice and its essence. They were rather simple, but the importance of the results was extremely important. He decided to model the inter-group conflict in a summer camp for schoolchildren. In the summer camp, the teenage boys unfamiliar with each other were divided into two groups: "Rattlers" and "Eagles". In any competition, only one of the teams can win. In the course of competition, which lasted more than one day, the tension was growing. Initially respectable competition gradually escalated into a full-scale conflict, creating a deep mutual hostility and prejudice among rivals. Soon the real feud began between the teens; it came to fisticuffs. Members of each team interconnected and increasingly hated rivals. The main reason for the conflict was the competition between the groups, which aroused hatred and hostility. To solve this issue, it was not enough just to remove the conflict, but it was necessary to meet the following conditions in order to reduce the prejudice:

1) Creating the conditions resulting in interdependence: the situation, where groups need each other reduces the hostility;

2) Providing the common goal to both sides: mutual objective unites the group members and provides them with motivation to act together;

3) Providing equal status to both sides: equal treatment reduces the possibility of stereotypical patterns occurrence;

4) Providing the conditions, where the hostile sides could obtain the possibility to get to know each other in a friendly manner: such conditions allow discovering the shared interests and finding the contact with the members of the hostile group. Gradually, it results in change of viewpoint towards the particular individual;

5) Exposing to multiple members of the other group: this condition allows the avoidance of stereotypes of different groups members, the individuals are taught that other group has similar features;

6) Knowing the social norms of their group and institution: they motivate people to reach the out-group members. All these conditions are effective, as they allow the members of the hostile groups to notice their similarities and common goals. They reveal the positive features of individuals, and gradually turn hatred into sympathy. These conditions prevent the occurrence of stereotypical patterns and promote friendship and cooperation. They allow changing the viewpoint and perception, which the boys felt towards the members of other group. When the members got general sufficiently serious purposes, there have been dramatic changes between both groups. Once the boys have been working together, the tension has almost disappeared between the two groups. After a few days, the boundaries between the groups actually disappeared at all. The best methods to reduce the hostility, in my opinion, were the restoration of water supply canal, reparation of the broken truck, and renting a film projector with their own money. In order to reduce stress, informing on the opposing side in a positive light, the promotion of informal, "human" contacts between members of conflicting groups, and constructive negotiations have to take place. Positive information about the "enemy" often does not take into account informal contacts easily wrapped in the same conflict, and mutual concessions leaders regard their proponents as a sign of weakness. The most important thing - and this is clearly demonstrated in the summer camp experiment - is finding common goals in an effort to forget that confrontation. As mentioned above, at the beginning of this hour of the experiment, there was the news program. During the time of its broadcast, 3 cases of aggression were observed. The first case appeared during the news program and clearly depicted the traces of the crash; therefore, basing on the rating scale, I would give it the mark 4. After that, the protests in Syria were shown, including the scenes of violence, beatings, and injuries. I rate this example with the score of 3, because I believe that cases of human will expression should not be hidden. Finally, the last act of aggression that I saw was connected with the Syrians who have fled their country. Since there was the war mentioned during this part, I put the mark 4. If to consider commercial ads, it becomes evident that most of them seem harmless, and the situations depicted look rather ridiculous and funny in our everyday life. Yet, in the same advertising, there was a moment which can be regarded as an act of aggression: a man blurred a face of a woman with an ice-cream. I would assess this act with only 1 point. To conclude, these cases do not illustrate too much violence, but they can influence the little children who watch TV and who do not yet distinguish which actions are less bad and which ones are worse. The children can perceive funny moment, but they may not understand that they are impolite. The thing I mentioned above may not appear violent or rude at a first sight. However, they can affect different people in various ways. The best and the easiest method to eliminate the cases of violence on TV is to filter demonstration of such moments, or show them late in the evening.

This material was provided by Daniele Watson who is a talented writer at statistics project help 

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