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Robbers Cave Experiment

Definition

The Robbers Cave experiment demonstrated that an attempt to simply bring hostile groups together is not enough to reduce intergroup prejudice. Rather, this experiment confirmed that groups must cooperate and have common goals to truly build peace. Thus, although contact is vital to reducing tensions between groups, interdependence is essential for establishing lasting intergroup harmony. This experiment is a classic in social psychology and is important because it has implications for reducing conflict between real social groups. In addition, this study has implications for a number of prominent social psychological theories, including realistic conflict theory and social identity theory.

Background

The purpose of this study was to create conflict and hostility between groups, and then employ interventions designed to reduce it. Researchers accomplished this goal by sending ...

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