Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Social Identity Theory and Prejudice

People are amazing creatures. I think that we should teach our youth about "minimal group studies". These are experiments in which youth are divided randomly into two groups.
Youth members of the groups then "assign points" to anonymous members of both their "own group" and the "other group". Even if there is NO BASIS for being a member of "the group" (as selection is random and not based upon characteristics or qualities), youth consistently award more points to the members of their own group. The conclusion of the studies is that people show "in group" favoritism. If we can see how much of "what we feel to be right" simply feels right because we're "creatures of habit and familiarity", then we have more freedom to set aside our primitive emotional responses in order to use reason and logic when interacting with our ever expanding world.

1 comment:

  1. I like many of the elements of Social Identity theory and have actually studied the approach to understanding individual and group behavior in humans. The concept of in-group favoritism and gays actually leaves me questioning though. Not that gay men do not often times "have each others back" so to speak but they often treat each other horribly and are constantly in competition. Please note that I am writing this from my personal perspective as a gay man. Thoughts?