InterindividualIntergroup Discontinuity

The interindividualintergroup discontinuity effect is the tendency in some settings for relations between groups to be more competitive, or less cooperative, than relations between individuals. The discontinuity effect has been the subject of systematic research for a little over two decades, but its history in intellectual thought spans centuries, as this entry shows. The entry also documents evidence from both laboratory and nonlaboratory contexts. Three questions are asked and answered regarding the discontinuity effect. First, what is the generality of the effect across different situations and samples? Second, what are the psychological mechanisms responsible for the effect? Third, what are possible ways of reducing the effect and promoting intergroup cooperation?

Historical Background

The question of whether individuals are prone to behave in a more hostile, competitive, ...

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