Why Do Groups Tend to Favour Their Own Members and Display Bias and Discrimination Toward Other Groups? Discuss with Reference to the Minimal Group Paradigm

IntroductionEvery country, region, society or community consists of a variety of groups. Every individual belongs to a group. We socialise in groups and we also work in groups (Vaughan & Hogg 2008).The groups we find ourselves in has a profound effect on who we are, what we become and (or) what we believe in. How do we define a group? Forsyth (2010) states that there is no a universal definition for describing a group. Let us consider university students working on a dissertation; they can be considered as a group.

Social psychologists will argue that students in a specific faculty should be considered as a group while other psychologists will argue that a group will be students in the university. One thing we can all agree on is that a group consists of two or more members that share the same values, morals or ideology. Forsyth describes a group as two or more individuals who are connected by norms.

Groups vary in terms of size, purpose and interest. This differentiation leads to different groups feeling superior or more important than other groups. This feeling of being superior leads to discrimination between groups. This essay unfolds why favouritism only occurs within group members. It will also discuss the act of discrimination and bias with evidence extracted from secondary sources.

Popular groups in the society include; sport teams, organisations, ethnic groups, political groups, religious groups, charity group and many more. Quite a number of people in the society would agree they belong to one group or the other or classify themselves as a member of a group whereas others may disagree and say it’s natural that they are categorised, for instance people in ethnic minority groups can argue that they didn’t choose what ethnicity they wanted to be, others can make the same point when it comes to gender groups. Nevertheless the people who tend to see themselves belonging to a group have number of reasons as to why they joined that particular or why they are part of it.

Some may happen to join a group to feel the sense of belongingness, Baumeister and Leary (1995) stated (as citied in Martin et la, 2010) that the need of belongingness is one of the most crucial parts of human motives. Social psychologist (Williams, 2001) agrees with Beaumeister and Leary as they carried out series of experiment and concluded that people that are ‘simply ignored’, marginalised or excluded from social interaction tend to act negatively to such treatment.

A Strong Bond Friendship can derive from simply being a group member therefore people in that may feel lonely or marginalised join group to form friendship. For example a student that has just started university may join the student union to make friends,’ these are very few aspects to why people join groups. Other psychological reasons include security/protection. Group setting can create a safe supportive environment to its members giving them opportunity to take risk which they’re unlikely to do so by themselves due to anxiety ( Martin. et la, 2010)

Furthermore being a member of a group can be very optimistic towards its members individually and as a group in different aspects. Individuals who may experience low self-esteem may greatly benefit from being a member of a certain group thus being involved in such is likely to enhance one’s self esteem. Group ‘identify together, work together, have increased power and are more likely to achieve their goal’, in a nutshell, groups cause unity and through this helps one another attain their goals. Social groups has an impact on every element of society’s social structure ( Sheehy.,2006) Most of social change in which the society has experienced are down to groups coming together and making their voices heard, popular group which happen to bring about social change are political parties i.e. pressure groups.

The eco-living group are a great example whereby group have brought about some changes in the society, through their protest, participating in community talks and through advertisement they have encouraged people to live in an eco-friendly environment by using energy saving bulb, driving eco-friendly (electric cars) cars and many other eco-friendly. Religions groups such as Christianity have played a positive role by the charitable role they play within society.

On the other hand religion can serves as an institution in the society uniting people in moral ways (i.e. Christians abiding by the Ten Commandments) which is worthwhile to the society, these morals help integrate society. For example some Christian groups go about feeding the homeless, helping vulnerable people, part-taking in various activities to help the community. According to sociologist Durkheim (1965), religion provides social cohesion, gives people a social identity, provide society with the stability it needs, and gives meaning and purpose to people’s lives.

Other groups which tends to have a positive impact on the society are charity groups, they provide support to people with ill-health or chronic diseases, preventing cruelty against people who are vulnerable i.e. children, old people or people with disability. Charities groups contribute positively to the society through various activities such as fundraising, giving opportunities for anyone to volunteer, organises events for vulnerable .

This proves to show that one group out of many can be influential and have positive impact on the whole society. Nevertheless, groups in the society have also had a negative effect on the society by causing social crisis and acting disrespectfully towards members of the society. Suicide bombers are a prime example of groups that have caused major havoc in the society leaving a void within the society.

Again football hooligans are another example of what negativity groups can bring to the society. Irrespective of the positive benefits groups can bring to each other, groups can also show traits of discrimination and biases towards other group, leading to favouritism within their own members of groups. Tajfel et al. (1971) suggests that the mere perception of the existence of another group can actually produce discrimination. In other words the simple fact that a group is aware of the existence of another group without even knowing who they are, what sort of group they are or their intentions, they are likely to be discriminated against.

Bias can encourage behaviour (discrimination) attitude (prejudice), and cognition (stereotyping) (Mackie and smith 1998, wilder & Simon 2001).The feature of discrimination and Biases has been around in the society for many years and still very active in the 21st century. The act of discrimination is simply the “unequal treatment of individual or group based on arbitrary characteristics such as race, gender, sex, ethnicity, cultural background and many more” (Reber, et la, 2009, p. 223) Looking at different groups in the society there are still conflict/ partiality amongst them especially being that their norms and value differ from each other.

Therefore groups are more likely to favour their own group than others, Sumner (1906) suggested that ‘each groups in the society tend to nourish its own pride and vanity as well as boasting itself superior’ over other groups. Such attitudes are bound to be found within groups such as tribes, sport groups, ethnic groups or religious groups. This leads to the term ‘intergroup behaviour’ which means competitiveness, group members tend to assume that their ‘attributes’ are better than any other groups compared to themselves.

Many Social Psychologists have illustrated the presence of intergroup discriminations. Similarly to Tajfel and his colleagues, Sherif et la (1961) suggests that whenever there is a group identity there’s an instance intergroup behaviour. He also presumed that when groups compete over rare resources there is an automatic conflict among groups as well as the presence of ethnocentrism, he proved this by conducting a field experiment well known as the ‘Robber’s cave experiment’. Sherif et al selected 22 white middle class 11 year olds boys and took them all to a summer camp for two weeks where they’d be part of an experiment.

Sherif and his colleagues randomly assigned the group of boys into two groups of eleven, they were then separated into two different cabins and were isolated from each other, neither were either of the groups aware of the existence of the other group prior to their arrival at the camp. During the course of the first week at the camp, each group spent time within their group taking part in various activities such as; swimming and hiking.

Each group also formed a name for their group in order to give them a ‘group identity’ called Rattlers and Eagles. Towards the end of the first week, each group became aware of the existence of the other group. Sherif and his colleagues carried on with the experiment by conducting series of competitive sporting activities between the two groups whereby the winner of the activities would be awarded with a trophy as well as individual prizes for its members. As the competition proceeded both groups got into altercation with their opposition as well as insulting and acting disrespectfully towards each other.

The eagles went as far as burning their opposition’s flag and in retaliation, the rattlers broke into the eagles’ cabin scattered and stole their goods. The two groups even got into a psychical fight where experimenters had to interfere. The final stage of the experiment was when the tournament began whereby the Eagles won with the help of the camp counsellors (sherif and colleagues) although they were awarded as promised, the rattlers stole their medals.

This proves the level of accuracy of Sherifs realistic conflict theory Furthermore, social identity theorist, believe that when individuals identifies themselves as member of a group they tend to feel the need to maintain positive self esteem which therefore leads them to favour their groups over other groups. (cite journal). The classic research design to study the intergroup bias has been the minimal group paradigm.

T After numerous experiments carried out by researchers, they have suggested that as the most meaningless distinction that separate a group from one another can easily trigger a tendency to favour its own group at the expenses of others. The group

Social categorisation is also a factor which leads to in-group favouritism and intergroup discrimination. People tend to have an automatic

Social psychologist have put together why the establishment of bias and discrimination is present am Discuss above statement ( are psychologist partial with their own group) find evidence to back every point made whether or not psychologist are ‘bias’ or ‘discriminatory’ against other groups….if possible find psychologically studies where psychologist may have come across as partial towards other groups Discuss as to why psychologist may come across has being biased using examples found and pinpointing where psychologist have shown some sort of impartiality towards other group

ARGUMENT AGAINT DISCRIMINATION AND BIASESThe vast majority of social psychologists have implemented various experiment and theories to conclude the existence of Discrimination and bias within intergroup is purposefully formed by intra-group members. In the regards to the evidence formed by the social psychologist, critics argue that the presence of intergroup negative behaviour toward one another is not entirely a rational behaviour.

According to findings, bias are automatic, unconscious, and unintentional remain controversial (Fiske, 2002). When an individual holds a particular negative stereotype towards a group, they are very likely to treat an individual from that group differently and honestly unaware of it. This is an unconscious and automatic process which is very common. There are many other examples within the society of unconscious bias.

Understanding the power of unconscious bias is yet to be unveiled and therefore carries on throughout society leading to ‘wounded’ groups within the society.

Social identity theorist argue that intergroup hostilityCritics argue that in as much as their is intergroup discrimination and biases the same behaviour does take place within intragroup.

ConclusionIn conclusion groups in the society do show a level of partiality when it comes to other groups, this may be to maintain their values as it differs to other, however this does not justify impartiality whatsoever but does give a clear understanding as to why group favour only their own member.

Groups may not even be aware that they are being bias towards other group because of the influence of each other and may strongly feel their opinions ( write more) are right and others are wrong. As much as we try to eradicate such behaviour with the society, it is impossible for different groups in the society to be integrated. The London 2012 Olympics/ para-olympics are a great example whereby different groups around the world all united together regardless of their differences to make the London 2012 a success. This therefore concludes…………