Tma 2

TMA 02

‘Drawing on appropriate evidence from Chapter 5, describe how groups can influence people in positive and negative ways’

If we are asked about our social identity we, more often than not, define ourselves as having many identities and roles by which we determine our place in society and how we like to be seen by others in society. Examples of how we define ourselves and illustrate which groups we belong to ,can be, identifying our family groups, groups of friends, work, and ethnic group.   In the main body of this essay I will explore the experiments undertaken that set out, sometimes inconclusively, that groups, to a greater or lesser extent influence many facets of our behaviour.

According to Taijfel et al (1971), the mere perception of another group’s existence can produce discrimination. This immediately highlights a negative view of group influence, to which there was some criticism, however it would be best to start with The Robbers Cave experiment(Sherif et al 1961).The first stage consisted of all the participants co-operating on a number of tasks and during that time a group identity was formed. This initial stage highlighted the positive influences of working together to achieve common goals for the benefit of the group, although by the end of the first stage the participants were divided into two separate groups each with its own defining identity. During the second stage of the element of competition between groups was introduced and this is where the most conflict arose. Negative behaviour in the form of the destruction of property and even fighting occurred. One group eventually won the competition and the losers even stole the prizes awarded to the winners. There was strong in-group and anti out-group preference, each group defining itself by collective positive qualities and conversely the opposition group were stereotyped by all its negative traits.

Henri Taijfel et al (1971) went on to show that just the knowledge of another...