Realistic group conflict theory (RGCT) states that competition between groups for finite resources leads to intergroup stereotypes, antagonism, and conflict. Such competition creates incompatible goals for members of different groups because one group's success in obtaining those resources prevents the other group from obtaining them. Such conflicts of interest lead to the development of ingroup norms that foster negative reactions to the outgroup, backed by punishment and rejection of those ingroup members who deviate from those norms.

Just as RGCT argues that competition for desired but limited resources creates intergroup conflict, it also argues that cooperation in pursuit of superordinate goals, mutually desired outcomes that are unobtainable without such cooperation, has the potential over time to reduce intergroup conflict and to create positive relations among members ...

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