Robbers cave study. The Robbers Cave Experiment by Muzafer Sherif and Carolyn Wood Sherif represents one of the most widely known demonstrations of RCT. The Sherifs' study was conducted over three weeks in a acre summer camp in Robbers Cave State Park, Oklahoma, focusing on intergroup behavior.‎Concept · ‎History · ‎Supportive research · ‎Extensions and applications. Main image: Boys in the Robbers Cave camp. .. I can't help thinking that the study of team sports could yield some interesting results. The Robbers Cave Experiment. Muzafer Sherif et al The Robbers Cave experiment on intergroup conflict and co-operation was carried out by Muzafer and Carolyn Sherif and others as a part of research program at the University of Oklahoma.


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This was done through making the two groups engage in activities to achieve superordinate goals, or tasks that needed to be done for the good of both groups.

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  • The Robbers Cave Experiment

One example of a superordinate goal was to move a stalled truck that Sherif knew was not in good working condition. One group of boys alone was not strong enough to move the truck, so both groups of boys had to work together to push the truck to a desired location.

After the superordinate goals, the two groups became friends and the previous prejudice disappeared. This was accepted even though a couple of homesick Eagles had gone home.

The contribution per robbers cave experiment was unequal but as groups Eagles and Rattlers paid equally. At supper there were no objections to eating together. Some scuffling and play at sticking chewing gum around occurred between members of the two groups, but it involved fewer boys on both sides than were usually involved in such encounters.

Other superordinate goals included the joint use of a tug-of-war-rope on a partly cut-through dangerous tree and on an apparently stuck-in-a-rut truck that was carrying food for both groups. In the event the joint pursuit of such superordinate goals, the interactions inevitable in that pursuit, and the joint sharing in their achievement all contributed to the lessening of tensions.

At breakfast and lunch the last day of camp, the robbers cave experiment arrangements were considerably robbers cave experiment up insofar as group membership was concerned.


robbers cave experiment The majority of the boys agreed by the last day that it would be a good thing to return to Oklahoma City all together on one bus. When they asked if this might be done and received an affirmative answer from the staff, some of them actually cheered.

When the bus pulled out, the seating arrangement did not follow group lines. robbers cave experiment

The Robbers Cave experiment Muzafer Sherif social psychology

Just before the bus pulled into the town where a refreshment stop was planned, a "Rattler" inquired if they still had the five dollar reward robbers cave experiment had won in the bean toss contest.

He robbers cave experiment determined not to repeat the mistakes of Middle Grove. But, perhaps more importantly, Sherif relinquished his role as puppet master; a condition laid down by his research associate, OJ Harvey, who knew how volatile Sherif could be and insisted on taking control himself.

At Robbers Cave, things went more to plan. Then all hell broke loose, with raids on cabins, vandalism and food fights.

Robbers Cave

Each moment of confrontation, however, was subtly manipulated by the research team. Each group developed a negative stereotype of Them and a contrasting positive stereotype of Us. The Rattlers swore heavily. The Robbers cave experiment, after winning one game, concluded that the Eagles had won because of their prayers and the Rattlers had lost because they used cuss-words all the time.

The Eagles decided to stop using cuss-words themselves. They also concluded that since the Rattlers swore all the time, it would be wiser not to talk to them. The Robbers cave experiment developed an image of themselves as proper-and-moral; the Rattlers developed an image of themselves as rough-and-tough.

Realistic conflict theory - Wikipedia

Group members held their noses when members of the other group passed. In Stage 3, robbers cave experiment researchers tried to reduce friction between the two groups. Mere contact being present without contesting did not reduce friction between the two groups.

Each group was unaware of the other group's presence. The second stage was the "friction phase", wherein the groups were entered in competition with one another in various camp games.

Robbers Cave Experiment / Realistic Conflict Theory | Simply Psychology

Valued prizes were awarded to the winners. This caused both groups to develop negative attitudes and behaviors towards the outgroup. The boys chose names for their groups, The Eagles and The Rattlers, and stenciled them onto shirts robbers cave experiment flags.

Sherif now arranged the 'competition stage' where friction between the groups was to occur over the next days.

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