ACQUISITION OF INTERGROUP CHANDRA BHAL DWIVEDI* DISCRIMINATION...
ACQUISITION OF INTERGROUP
CHANDRA BHAL DWIVEDI*
DISCRIMINATION BEHAVIOUR
It has been recognized since long that leaves the classification as esoteric and
individuals often favour ingroup members without impact. Accordingly, they sug-
at the expense of those in the outgroup. gested that members belonging to each of
Several attempts have been made to scan the subgroups must have been made to
the social and psychological factors that feel that they had something in common,
contribute to prejudice towards and dis-
either in terms of differential outcomes or
criminations against the outgroup mem-
of some attribute or trait which would
bers. In doing so, attention has been have distinguished them from outgroup
focussed on the factors of conflict arousal, members. In their two experiments, Tajfel
relative outcomes, communication struc-
et al (1971) classified the subjects on the
tures, and cooperation and competition. basis of the scores they obtained on a
Relatively little attention has been paid to perceptual preference whereafter the sub-
the effects of sharing or not sharing some jects were asked to award or penalize
category or group label in emergence of others on a booklet comprising of 18
the discriminatory behaviour (Dwivedi, matrices purported for ingroup, outgroup
1974 b; Tajfel, 1969; Tajfel and Jahoda, and intergroup choices. The Ss awarded
1966; Tajfel and Wilkes, 1963).
more rewards to the members of their
Rabbie and Horowitz (1969) demons-
own groups. In a subsequent experiment
trated the minimal conditions necessary more awards were assigned following the
for arousing intergroup discrimination. scheme of maximum joint profit where
They created experimental situations individual choices were difficult. These
wherein one group experienced a reward, choices were closely distributed along a
while the other one a deprivation. A point of fairness or the 'generic norm'.
chance win or loss for a subgroup, deter-
Reasoning that the forced-choice situ-
mined by the flipping of a coin, was found ation of favouring member of either one
sufficient to produce pro-ingroup bias. or the other group renders methodologi-
However, simply classifying the subjects cal flaw in the studies of Tajfel et al.
into subgroups of blue or green without (1971). Gerard and Hoyt (1974) con-
attaching reward or punishment failed to tended that " . . . in addition to creating
induce such a discrimination.
impactful group categories, eliminating
Tajfel, Billig, Bundy and Flament (1971) intergroup competition or expectations in
disagreed with the findings of Rabbie and future interaction, etc., the subjects should
Horowitz (1969) on the ground that an be able to make discriminatory responses,
appropriate test of categorization produc-
if such a tendency exists, but an invitation
ing bias was not provided. Mere classi-
or demand towards such responses should
fication of subjects, they reasoned, as not be inherent in the experimental
blues or greens without attaching any situation (p. 837)". Accordingly Gerard and
psychological significance to the labels, Hoyt (1974) attempted to test the hypo-
* Dr. C. B. Dwivedi is Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Banaras Hindu
University, Varanasi 221005.

166
CHANDRA BHAL DWIVEDI
thesis about the relative favourableness of
Materials: The 'Intergroup discrimina-
ingroup evaluations to increase with the tion matrices booklet' (Dwivedi, 1974, a)
increasing distinctiveness in ingroup mem-
was used. On each page of this booklet
bership. Ingroups of 2, 5, and 8 members there was one matrix consisting of 14
were created by an experiment of estima-
boxes, containing two numbers in each. The
tions of numbers of the dots on a card numbers in the top row were rewards and
held by the experimenters. The Ss then punishments to be awarded to one person
wrote a short essay and evaluated essays of either the same group or of the out-
written by the two other Ss, one of them group and those in the bottom row were
happened to be an ingroup member and those to be allotted to the other one. Each
the other one an outgroup member. Results row was labelled as "The praise and con-
supported the hypothesis that the smaller demnations for a member of your group"
the ingroup the more favourable would be or " . . . . of the other group" as was the
evaluations of the ingroup writer relative case of either of the 'ingroup', 'outgroup',
to the outgroup writer.
or 'intergroup' situations. There were six
The present study aimed at observing matrices and each appeared thrice in the
the emergence of pro-ingroup bias with booklet, once each, for ingroup, outgroup,
and intergroup situations, thus 18 in all.
the groups of moderate size of ten Ss in A pen or pencil was used for assigning the
each. Using verbal reinforcements, con-
rewards and punishments.
trary to the monetary as used by others,
the present study attempted to observe dis-
Experimental Design: The Ss were
criminations against outgroup members. It divided in four groups and were asked to
was hypothesized that there would be assign their responses in terms of praises
discriminations against Ss of the outgroup and condemnations to others on an inter-
and intergroup even when there were no group discrimination matrices booklet. The
apparent reasons in terms of the S's own divisioning of the groups was done for
vying interests. It was also hypothesized categorization purposes and the influence
that in intragroup comparisons the dis-
of this grouping was to be noted for each
crimination would be observed in terms of the three conditions of comparison of
of maximum fairness.
discrimination per se.
Procedure: The experiment was con-
Method
ducted in two parts. The first part may
be conceived as the preparatory phase of
Subjects: Forty boys, aged 12 to 15 years, the experiment, wherein the Ss were asked
of Class VIII of a local school served as to observe and count the dots of a series
the Ss of the present study. The Ss were of span of attention cards. The Ss were,
randomly divided into four groups of ten for this preparatory or categorization phase,
each, but were told to have been tested in whole group and span of atten-
divided on the basis of their perform-
tion cards bearing some dots were shown
ance on the preliminary task of the span of to them by the experimenter. Each of
attention. The Ss were from the same these cards was displayed for two seconds
school and hence they knew each other only and the Ss were asked to guess and
fairly well. One S from each group worked write the number of dots on a sheet of
at a time, and thus, they worked in groups paper. Half of the Ss were told that
of four.
some people respond almost instantly

AQUISITION OF INTERGROUP DISCRIMINATION BEHAVIOUR
167
while others respond with delay. The priate box signifying the highest or lowest
remaining half of the Ss were told that number of praise or condemnation. The
some persons count the dots very accu-
Ss were told that the high numbers stood
rately while others follow approximation for praise and the low for the condem-
for the counting. Their responses were nations. After Ss had awarded praise and
collected and ostensibly scored then and condemnations, the matrices were collect-
there in presence of the Ss.
ed and analyzed in terms of choices award-
The Ss were apparently told that those ed by them to different groups.
who responded immediately were grouped
as one and those who gave delayed res-
Results
ponses were grouped together, and simi-
larly, those who gave accurate responses
The responses, obtained in terms of
were grouped as one group and those who preferences, were scored by ranking
were less accurate in their responses them from 1 to 14 depending on which
were grouped together. Though these box was checked. The box of the matrix
groupings were done randomly, the Ss were which awarded the ingroup member
informed that the grouping was done on minimum number of points was designated
the basis of their obtained score on the as 1, whereas the other end which gave
immediately finished span of attention the ingroup member the maximum point
experiment.
was kept as 14. The mean choices and
In the second phase of the experiment, corresponding S.D.s for all the four groups
one S from each group was put to work at a for each of the three situations were
time. Each S was seated on a separate table
computed, which are presented in
and E distributed the 'Intergroup discrimi-
Table 1.
nation matrices booklet' (Dwivedi, 1974a)
TABLE 1
to them and asked them to fill in their
name, age, class and group they belonged
M E A N C H O I C E S AND S . D . S ON INTERGROUP
to. The instructions for the forthcoming
DISCRIMINATION EXPERIMENT
task followed. The Ss were told individu-
ally that their task would consist of giv-
ing to others the praise and condemna-
tions without knowing their identity. The
Ss were told that they would work sepa-
rately and the praise or the condemnations
assigned by them would be kept confi-
dential. It was repeatedly stressed that they
would never award or punish themselves,
instead they would always be allotting
praise and condemnation to others.
It would become apparent from the
As there were six matrices and each ap-
above Table that the choices have been
peared three times, once for each of the assigned in a hierarchical order of
ingroup, outgroup, and intergroup, the top intergroup occupying the highest ranks,
and bottom rows signifying group posi-
outgroup occupying the lowest ranks with
tions were varied at random. The Ss had the ingroup holding an intermediary
to check, by marking a tick, the appro-
position. This supports the findings of

168
CHANDRA BHAL DWIVEDI
Tajfel and his collaborators (Tajfel, 1969; treatment and preference than the mem-
Tajfel et al. 1971) who contend that an bers of the other group. In making their
ingroup member is always preferred as intergroup choices, a large majority of Ss,
compared to an outgroup member, since in all groups and in all conditions, preferred
the group cohesion warrants it. Contrary to assign more praise to members of their
to the above, those belonging to outgroup own group than to the members of the
are always discriminated against and other group. All the mean ranks of the
ranked for choices without seriousness. intergroup condition were above the rank
In the comparison between ingroup and of 7.5 which represents their leaning
outgroup, i.e. in the intergroup condition, towards the member of their own group.
the ingroup member is always favoured
The high level of significance of inter-
and an outgroup member is always group over outgroup, and suggestible
rejected.
(under delayed and less accurate groups)
These observations needed further but statistically not significant superiority
statistical corroboration and the 't'-ratios of intergroup in favour of ingroup member
were computed to substantiate the said over the ingroup, corroborate and confirm
expectations arising out of the data the first hypothesis which envisages
obtained. The 't'-ratios were therefore, discrimination against outgroup member
computed between ingroup-outgroup, out-
even without any apparent reason in terms
group-intergroup, and ingroup-intergroup of individual's own interests of possible
gain as a result of the discriminating
comparisons. The following Table No. 2 against the outgroups. Though prior to
provides the obtained 't'-ratios.
this experiment, there was no evidence
of an outgroup pre-existing and sharpening
TABLE 2
the reactions against themselves, the
't' R A T I O S C O M P U T E D FOR ASCERTAINING
group categorization helped in creating the
SIGNIFICANCE OF D I F F E R E N C E BETWEEN
CONDITIONS
discriminations per se. The group
categorization by arbitrary standards or
otherwise help developing a 'generic norm'
and as a consequential pattern the
discrimination ensues. Since all mean
ranks in intergroup comparison are above
7.5, which represents the point of maximum
fairness, the second hypothesis contending
the distribution of intergroup discrimina-
tion along the point of the maximum
* Significant at .05 level of confidence.
fairness, also stands confirmed.
** Significant at .01 level of confidence.
The 't'-ratios presented in Table No. 2
provide, among other things, that all the Discussion
comparisons have yielded a superior
position of ingroup over outgroup, inter-
The results support the prediction that
group (in favour of ingroup) over outgroup, the group categorization, even by quite
as also over ingroup. All the 't'-ratios arbitrary means, produces discriminatory
corroborate the contention that the evaluations. Since the groups were
members of one's own group receive better
categorized by unspecified standards and

AQUISITION OF INTERGROUP DISCRIMINATION BEHAVIOUR
169
the interests of the subjects were not of a distinction between an ingroup and
curbed by their awarding of choices as an outgroup. When this differentiation
they always assigned praise and con-
came to the fore, they discriminated in
demnations to other two persons whose favour of their own group rather than
identity was never defined or disclosed choosing the first alternative of maximum
to them, the generic norm found ample joint profit. It is evidenced from the
pace to develop. The resultant was an present results that the intergroup
intergroup discrimination. The need to discrimination works as a deliberate
bring some kind of order into our social strategy in making intergroup choices.
construction of reality gets embedded
The observation of intergroup dis-
with the hostility inherent in many of criminatory behaviour in the present
the intergroup categorizations to which experiment even in the lack of monetary
we are continually exposed. The results gain or loss, is a pointer of confirming
make it evident that whenever we are the results of Tajfel et al. (1971). It is
confronted with a situation to which some obvious from the trend of results of the
form of inter-group categorization appears present experiment that the discrimination
directly relevant, the prejudices and dis-
is more directly a function of the social
criminations against outgroup and favour situation with which an individual finds
for ingroup or pro-ingroup bias, follow. himself attached. Stated otherwise, this
The results support the expectations of refers to the implications arising out of
Gerard and Hoyt (1974) that arousal of the socialization process. The child,
pro-ingroup bias in the evaluation of in his course of socialization, learns not
products is contingent upon group only whom he should like or dislike in
categorization per se.
the complex social environment to which
As a sequel to the consequences, he is exposed but also something more
referred to above, the Ss, inasmuch as they basic. Pursuant to the above, the present
did not know who was to be awarded experiment has demonstrated confirmatory
and who was not to, had no option but evidence to the 'similarity attraction
to assume either of the two choices, viz., hypothesis' of Byrne (1969), and pro-
either choosing the maximum joint profit positions of Harding, et. al. (1969), insofar
scheme or choosing maximum fairness. as their contentions about the intergroup
Results have indicated that they tried to attitudes as learned, multi-casually deter-
choose the second alternative as long as mined, and functional or need satisfying
their choices were not involved in terms in character are concerned.
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1974a
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Dwivedi, C. B.
"Antarsmuhik Bhedbhav: Ek Samajamanovaijnanik Vivechan",
1974b
Samajikee, 2, 2, 39-44.

170
CHANDRA BHAL DWIVEDI
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