Social Psychology: Reducing prejudice using social identity theory

Contributions to society from the social approach - Reducing prejudice using social identity theory


Reducing prejudice using social identity theory

Tajfel fronted social identity theory to explain that people form in-groups and ‘out-groups’ ( shown in his own study). Social identity theory involves social categorisation, social identification and then social comparison and this process helps to explain the formation of stereotypes and PREJUDICE. 

Prejudice is seen as an explanation of many social behaviours; it leads to discrimination. It has been associated with things such as football hooliganism, right up to the extreme of Genocide. This is something that society aims to reduce – not only from a moral and humane point of view but in an economic sense.

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Evaluation of explanation for prejudice leading to

+Much research into prejudice comes from lab experiments which have strong controls and are replicable and some are field experiments (Sherif et al) which have ecological validity.

+Social identity theory is not incompatible with other explanations for prejudice such as Sherif’s social conflict theory – research into both has produced similar results.

+Studies have shown how in-group/out-group prejudices can occur between artificially created groups without any previous history of competition

 - The theories which suggest explanations of prejudice only consider one aspect (in-group/out-group) which means it does not consider the whole complexity of prejudice and discrimination but a holistic view which does not consider all aspects of prejudice which would be needed for a valid and credible explanation.

-Studies are therefore likely to lack validity because they do not represent the ‘real situation’ which exemplifies prejudices e.g. Tajfel studies used artificial groups which may lack validity.

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