This research is part of an experimental programme investigating the effects of social categorization on intergroup relations (Tajfel 1970; Tajfel et al., 1971; Tajfel and Billig, in press; Doise et al., 1972). These experiments have followed the same basic design. Ss are divided into groups on the basis of some trivial task. Then they have to award real money to the other Ss by making choices on specially prepared payment matrices. It has been consistently found that Ss use their minimal group classifications to show strong ingroup preferences in their payments, although these choices have no utilitarian value for the Ss themselves, and they do not know the identity of those they are awarding the money. (They only know their group membership.) Billig and Tajfel (1973) found this ingroup preference even if Ss are explicitly divided into random groups. They describe the ingroup bias as 'normative', and that certain norms are inherent in the act of social categorization. Obviously to call a piece of behaviour normative is not to explain it; rather it suggests that the behaviour is the outcome of certain, as yet unspecified, processes of social influence. The present experiment is intended to be a first
European Journal of Social Psychology – Wiley
Published: Jul 1, 1973
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