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Realistic Conflict Essay

The experiment was based on the Theory of Realistic Conflict. The researchers extended the theory to an institutional setting where groups are not actively involved in the decisions, but are targets of the decisions made by the authority of the institution which is known as the rector. The negative interdependence between the in-group (psychology) and a high or low status outgroup (engineering vs nursing students) was established by the rector.

The results of the experiment was that the competition that was induced by the rector was beneficial or detrimental for the in-group and that competition affects mutual attitudes, images, and behaviors of groups even though the groups are passive targets of the decisions made by the rector. Regardless of whether the competition is beneficial or detrimental, it deteriorates images and attitudes toward higher status out groups.

The purpose of this experiment is that the authors wanted to see if the negative interdependence can be provoked by a third party affect the mutual images, attitudes and behaviors of groups that are passive targets of those decisions. There was 9 different hypothesis that went along with three different effects. The first effect was negative interdependence main effect with two different parts: negative interdependence independently of its nature (gain or loss) will lead to a deterioration of out group images, attitudes, and more discrimination.

The asymmetry effect of the negative interdependence main effect is (a) when negative interdependence is positive for ingroup interests, the images of the attitudes and behaviors toward out group members will be more positive; (b) when negative interdependence prejudices in-group interests, the images of the attitudes and behaviors toward out group members will be more negative.

The next effect is the intergroup status main ffect with three hypothesis: attribution of competence will depend only on groups’ status and not intergroups relations with high-status groups will be perceived as more competent; attribution of competence will depend depend also on intergroup relations with attribution of competence to the outgroup will be stronger in gain gain conditions; the perceived likeability of the out-group will be stronger in the gain condition.

The final effect is the status and negative interdependence interaction effects: when negative interdependence reinforces previous higher in-group status, the images of the attitudes and behaviors toward out groups will be more positive; when negative interdependence prejudices previous higher in-group status, the images of the attitudes and behaviors toward out groups will be more negative; when lodd condition happens it (a) participants with low identification with in-group will have more positive images of attitudes toward and identification with higher status outgroups whereas (b) participants with high ingroups identification will show more negative attitudes toward images of identification with higher status outgroups; when negative interdependence benefits lower status in group interest (gain) participants will display more positive images of and attitudes and behaviors toward higher status out-groups. The design of this study was survey.

The control of this experiment is that the participants answered the dependent measures immediately without being exposed to the out-come manipulation. The dependent variables for the out-group stereotype the participants were to describe their images of the out-groups members using 12 adjectives: lacking of confidence, naive, indecisive, self-confident, assertive, decision-making, tender, understanding, generous, dominant, rigid/ strict, and aggressive. For each adjective, two measures were proposed a central tendency measure and a dispersion measure.

The independent variable was to identified with the outgroup and their opinions about out-group members. The participants of the experiment were 105 undergraduate educational psychology students whose average age was 19 years old ( 77 women and 28 men). They were used because the authors of this article are psychology and methodology professors at the University of the Basque Country in San Sebastian, Spain and the participants are their students. The participants do not represent the population in question because the research was on engineering students and nursing students and all participants are educational psychology students. One cannot generalize from this sample because they do not represent the population that is being tested.

The methodological design of the project was that the experimenters gave the participants a 2×3 experimental factor design, high status (engineering students) vs low status (nursing students) and the type of negative interdependence (control). They had to read the intro into the questionnaire and were given a survey that included questions pertaining to the opinions and images of students on other courses. The participants were informed that it was divided into several sections and will be filled over over the course of several successive days. After each section, they would give their opinions about students on other course. For the control, the participants answered the dependent measures immediately without being exposed to the out-come manipulation.

The introduction of the negative interdependence manipulation on the second page where they were informed that the first part of the questionnaire was concerned with the economic policy that due to be implemented over the next 2 years. Given the 12 adjectives to describe their images of the out-group members, the participants were asked to indicate the extent to which they identified with the out-group and their opinions about the outgroup members on a scale of 1-7 (1 being not negative to 7 being very positive). They were also given the opportunity to distribute or allocate resources between the ingroup and the outgroup. Three traditional indices of social identities were also presented: (1) identification with the in-group (2) the importance ttached to group membership (both 1 and 2 used the scale 1 = not at all to 7= a lot) and (3) the perceived similarity between oneself and the typical in-group member (1= very different to 7= very similar).

The selection of the engineering students and nursing for being higher out-group and lower out-group was based off results of an unpublished study on sexism. The material used for the experiment was a questionnaire and survey. The questionnaire was used to give the dependent variable and to measure the central tendency and a dispersion measure. The central tendency is the 1= not at all and 7= a lot while the dispersion measure is all over the places. The survey was given twice to the participants and the survey included questions pertaining to the opinions and images of students on other courses.

The results of this experiment is that they found that competition imposed by an institutional authority (rector) provokes changes in the quality of relations among those sections or groups that have been affected by those decisions. But the results show that this is more complex than the TRC. It was also learned that competition whether beneficial or detrimental it deteriorates the images and attitudes toward the high-status out-group. Deterioration is stronger than the loss of condition. They entered the 12 central tendency traits into a factor analysis to reduce the number of dependent variables and then grouped them into three factors. The first factor was positively defined by naive, lacking of confidence, and indecisive which was 35. 6% of the explained variance. The second factor was tender,understanding, and generous which was 18. 8% of the explained variance.

The third factor was defined by dominant, rigid/strict and aggressive who had 11% of the explained variance and with these results they created four scales. To compare the effects of negative interdependence, the used stereotypes and attitudes toward out-groups as a baseline. Hypothesis 3 was proven when the participants described the high-status group (engineering) as more agential than the low status group. The low status group was described as more ineffective and communal causing the high-status group to be perceived as more homogeneous in the agency, ineffectiveness, and authoritarianism dimensions. The participants held more positive opinions of the higher status out-group. Hypothesis 1 was also proven when the differences between control and loss and control and gain were significant.

Data disconfirm hypothesis 7 when it was a not significant in all cases where there were differences between gain and loss. There was no variation in the answers given by the participants. The authors also found that the effects of interdependence are qualified by the relative status of groups involved in the competition and the outcomes come from the competition. In this study, there was strengths and weaknesses as well as limitations for further research. The strengths of this experiment were that it was well written , easy to understand. The procedure was straightforward and one was able to understand what they had the participants do. A lot of background information was given to show what was their motive to testing.

The weaknesses of this study is that the results were difficult to understand in that it was unorganized to a degree. Also, the participants in the study had a higher percentage of females than males. In order to create more accurate results, the difference between male and female should be smaller than what it is in this study causing it to be also a limitation. What I think was done right in this study was that they used psychology students to try and not create a biased between engineering students and nursing students. The researchers I believe tried to test too many hypotheses or ideas done at one time causing confusion to reader or someone trying to recreate this experiement. Further research should be done to finalize the accuracy of these results.

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