Prejudice Leads to Negative Behavior of Bullying and Aggression

Decent Essays

Prejudice is a topic of interest to social psychologists and society as a whole. Prejudice can be defined as ‘an attitude that predisposes a person to think, feel, perceive and act in a favourable or unfavourable way towards a group or its individual members’ (Secord and Backman, 1974, p). Prejudice is often the cause of negative behaviour such as bullying and aggression. Discrimination such as; racism, ageism, sexism, nationalism, classism may occur as a result. Jane Elliot’s study: A Class Divided (1968) attempts to highlight prejudicial behaviour in children. Elliot divided her class into groups of eye colour. She told the children that blue eye colour defined people to be more intelligent and superior to those with brown eyes. …show more content…

The Robber’s Cave field experiment (1961) involved a group of 11-12 year old boys at a summer camp. Dividing them into two teams, a series of competitive events were organised. Hostile behaviour such as fighting and refusing to eat with members of the other group ensued. (Gross, p.25). Although field experiments are rewarded for high ecological validity, this study was criticised for being artificial and not necessary representing real life. For example, middle class boys randomly allocated into separate groups does not equal rival football supporters or rival gangs. Additionally, as it only included white middle class males we cannot generalise the results. (McLeod, S. A, 2008). Ethical considerations were not taken into account. There was no experimental consent, no right to withdraw and parental visits we disallowed. (
Tafjel (1979) introduced the social identity theory which claims that group membership establishes a person’s sense of belonging, feeling of pride and self esteem. Discrimination occurs towards the out-group in an attempt to boost the esteem of the in-group in this theory. Lalonde (1992) studied a hockey team that was performing inadequately. The team admitted that the skill of the opposing team was greater but claimed that they played ‘dirtier’. This suggests sanctimony and favouritism to their in-group. However, after observing the teams Lalonde concluded that

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