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Li Chun Ho IB Psychology Higher Evaluate social identity theory, making reference to relevant studies.

In this response, I will evaluate the social identity theory (SIT) by Tajfel & Turner (1979) with the study of Tajfel et al (1971) and the Robbers Cave experiment by Sherif (1961). Tajfel & Turner examined in-group bias and out-group discrimination by having child participants giving scores to art pieces of their peers. Sherif suggested the presence of prejudice and conflict built up tension between two groups that support the SIT. The SIT assumed that individuals have a basic need for positive self-esteem is integrated into both personal and social identities. Related to intergroup behaviors, it leads us to seek positive identities by evaluating in-groups and out-groups. This develops in-group bias and favoritism. We have many different social identities based on the groups we feel we belong to and identify with. Three fundamental factors influencing SIT are categorization, identification and comparison. We categorize individuals and ourselves in different groups. To do so, we need to adopt the identity of the group we have categorized ourselves to. This social identity enhances our self-esteem. We then enhance the sense of identity by comparing the groups we are in with out-groups. Tajfel (1971) demonstrated this phenomenon using 48 boys between 14-15 years old as participants who would be categorized into groups based on their preferences of paintings by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinksy. At this stage, they did not know who would in their groups or part of out-groups. They were asked to give virtual money to members of the out-groups. They could either give the largest possible reward to in-group, their own members, or maximum joint profit, where they choose the largest possible difference in reward between different groups. Findings showed boys chose maximum difference in favoritism of the in-group. They would give maximum points only when it is higher than the out-groups. This supports the occurrence of in-group bias including stereotyping and prejudice. Because the study is well standardized, it had good environmental controls on extraneous variables as it was done in a laboratory. It can be used to understand the formation of prejudice and to predict nature of social behavior between in-groups and out-groups. However, it lacks problems of generalisability and ecological validity. This is because it was not done in a naturalistic setting as well as lacking a representative sample of the general population that excluded girls. The robbers cave experiment by Sherif (1961) explores how prejudice and conflict is formed between different groups of people that supports SIT. 22 white Protestant boys aged 11-12 were participants in a field experiment. They were self-sampled. The boys were in a camp that was divided into two groups. When they were unaware of the existence of the other group, they behaved normally. However, upon recognizing the existence of the other group, conflict began to emerge verbally. Before the formation of such groups, boys were friends with each other. The study shows individuals were likely to characterize their in-groups in favorable terms to boost self-esteem. Sherif suggested groups naturally create their own cultures and status structures. The cause and effect relationship is likely to be highly reliable. As camping is naturalistic, ecological validity is very high. Since the single blind technique was used, no evident demand characteristics were displayed. The study moreover supports SIT and gives insight into the formation of prejudice. However, we must consider the cultural and gender influence. As the participants were only white protestant males, it may have problems generalizing the concept of in-group favoritism to other 1

Li Chun Ho IB Psychology Higher Evaluate social identity theory, making reference to relevant studies. cultures, low ecological validity. It also raises possibility of misidentifying with an in-group that may lead to a low self-esteem. In addition, although we may identify with an in-group and develop our self-esteem and identity, it may be emphasized by our personal uniqueness and originality. There may be a possible interpretation bias. There are also ethical considerations. The participants were minors below the age of 16 that may have been ethically inappropriate. A level of deception was used to induce the cause and relationship effect that prevented complete informed consent. As a result, a full disclosure during debriefing that corrects wrong and mistaken beliefs about the study is needed.