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Current Debates in Intergroup Relations

An interactive presentation for a lecture on the history of human groups and the place of the individual in them
by

John (Can) Lokman

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Current Debates in Intergroup Relations

HUMANS IN GROUPS
THE INDIVIDUAL
AND THE GROUP
I Belong, Therefore I Exist
Anna Bogo
Can Lokman
Sanne Bruijniks
LAST WEEK
THIS WEEK
SOCIAL
IDENTITY
A NEED
TO BELONG
REJECTION
CAN

'Human have a pervasive drive to from and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive and significant interpersonal relationships.'
A need to belong...
But; how strong is the empirical evidence they provide?
Aggregate comparison

Intergroup comparison

Interpersonal comparison
Social comparisons
Forming social bonds?
Not breaking bonds
Cognition
Emotion
Consequences of deprivation
Partial deprivation: relatedness without interaction
Partial deprivation: interaction without a bond of caring
Satiation and substitution
Innateness, universality and evolutionary perspectives
Their review of empirical evidence:


Cognition

Emotion

Behavior

Possible explanations for these variability in reactions;
self-regulation or blunted emotions?
An Update of the Empirical Case for the Need to Belong (Gere & MacDonald, 2010)
SANNE
ANNA
Intra- and inter-group rejection
Stable
categorization
Unstable
categorization
Rejection by ingroup
Rejection by
outgroup
DEVIANTS
CLASSIC
MINORITIES
REBELS
TRANSITION
Brown & Capozza (2006)
Ostractism
Individual differences? Attachment Style
Low avoidance
High avoidance
Low anxiety
High anxiety
SECURE
PREOCCUPIED
FEARFUL
AVOIDANT
DISMISSING
AVOIDANT

'Are there differences in coping styles between ingroup and outgroup rejection among different levels of anxiety?'
Research question
Increases the value of distinctive low-status minority ingroups over high-status majority ingroups.

Threat to distinctiveness of a group leads to:

Reinforcement of group boundaries

Intergroup differentiation
Balance between differentiation and separation
The Optimal Distinctiveness Model
Individual
Dyad
Family / work group
Band (deme)
Macroband (macrodeme)
Multilevel Evolutionary Theory
Evolution is a process that works on multiple levels.
They are all evolving simultaneously:
Macromolecules
DNA (genes)
Cells
Organisms
Groups
"...[And] entities at one level of the biological hierarchy are the environment for entities at another."
Earliest form of natural selection was rejection of of unstable molecules.
Survival of the stable
...which "seeks" building blocks in order to replicate itself.
DNA is a machine
Survival of the fittest
But it is not alone in this search, and resources are limited.
(Brewer & Caporael, 2006)
The Core Configuration Model
Function: Seasonal gatherings (seasonal, because resources are limited); exchange of persons (e.g., partners), resources, and information
Example: Department of psychology, scientific conferences
Group belonging
Dyadic self
Relational identity

Individual identity
Collective identity
If humans are adapted to live in groups, and depend on group effectiveness for survival, then our minds should be tuned for group structures and tasks.
Core configurations are embedded in human mind.
They are "internalized" and maintained
Individual
Dyad
Family / team member
Band (deme)
Macroband (macrodeme)
Individual self
Cognitive representations, motion coordination
Self-other confusion in close relationships (Aron et al., 1991)
They enable depersonalized, collective selves
Macroband is the origin of larger organizations
Distributed cognition (e.g., assembly teams)
Collective identity
Example: A ship's crew
Shift happens
Rejection
“I don’t like you anymore!”
“Look how loyal I am!”
Distance from and critics to the group
Fit into the norms and standards of the group
Who am I going to be when I feel rejected?
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Stages of rejection
Reflexive stage
'Simple membership of an in-group doesn't necessarily make it a reference group' (Newcomb, 1943)

Festinger (1954) 'When individuals are more attracted to their in-group, they made more interpersonal comparisons to other members of the in-group'

Distinctive in-group meaningful as reference group; perceptual style, gender, ethnic minority

Reference group characteristics on interpersonal comparison: academic achievement, group status, women comparing to men, minority
Reflective stage
Behavioral stage
Dairy study: most people experience their comparisons as interpersonal
(despite making more comparisons to in-group) (Smith & Leach, 2006)

More interpersonal comparisons to those who are physically or psychologically close (Leach & Vliek, 2008)
Reflective stage
Behavioral stage
FMRi Study: You hurt my feelings
Physical pain = Social Exclusion
Dorsal Anterior cingulated Cortex (emotional distress of pain)
Right Ventral Prefrontal Cortex (regulation/inhibition of emotional distress)
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Behavioural consequences (chronic social exclusion)
More receptive to extreme groups that show an interest in the individual
Be predisposed to act in such a way to attract recognition and attention, possibly through violence
Dynamics of long-term relationships between humans depends on the relationship children got with their caregivers
Design a study to investigate the research question. You must also think of a way to measure rejection in your design.
Objective
Group Attachment Style
Anxiety => Concern of being accepted by the group
Avoidance => Dependence on the group as source of identity
Reference group theory
Anxiety:
Concern of being accepted
Avoidance:
Dependence on others as source of identity
Low avoidance
High avoidance
Low anxiety
High anxiety
Worry, concern, conformism
Less concern with approval
Independent, aloof, avoid closeness
Closeness, intimacy
ATTACHMENT
Smith E., Murphy J. & Coats S. (1999)
Group life is necessary for...

Survival
To help the individual frame his perception
Emotions
Cognitive processes
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Flee: avoidance, move away
Fight: aggression
SECURE
PREOCCUPIED
FEARFUL
AVOIDANT
DISMISSING
AVOIDANT
LOW ANXIETY
OUTGROUP
REJECTION
INGROUP
REJECTION
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
Tend-to-be-friend: conformism
Fight: aggression
Freeze: emotional numbness
Flee: avoidance, move away
?
?
?
?
?
QUESTIONS
!
!
!
!
!
GROUP ASSIGNMENT
Such as cities,
Or huge nation states
But what about individualism?
Overview
Rule: Every unit should fit the next higher level of environment within which they function.
Atoms must fit the rules of the molecular environment.
Molecules must fit to the environment of macromolecules.
...the environment of the organism.
And of course, DNA must fit to the environment of...
... the cellular machinery
which must fit to...
Human social life is a juggling act of simultaneously maintaining the integrity and balance of identities:
(Brewer, 1991)
They need to be in balance; if one need becomes satisfied, the other rises.

The secret to making two needs "meet" is identifying with distinctive groups.

Only the groups with optimal in size will satisfy both needs.

Such groups will ensure loyalty, conformity and cooperation, because they fit the individual psychology (which is "fitted" to group structures that persisted throughout human evolution).
Collective Identity
These are three semi-autonomous regulatory systems that compete with each other.
Competition guarantees that one level is not sacrificed for another.

The result of this competition is two opposing needs:
Need for Differentiation



When assimilation is threatened:

People self-stereotype more, even on negative group characteristics.
Individual Identity
Relational Identity
Need for Assimilation
ANNA
THE "BIG" PICTURE
Each level has different problems and functions and we have evolved distinct cognitive mechanisms to deal with each of these levels.

Individual survival
Basic economic unit; first self-sustaining configuration (but still too small for reproduction: less than 175-475 people), locus for articulated social identity (feeling of "us", songs, stories)
Function: Workgroup coordination, construction of shared reality (shared knowledge)
Example: Social psychology lab
Group belonging
Group belonging
Small-group oriented toward a common task
Evolutionary function: Foraging, hunting, distributed cognition
Example: A research group; people having conversation and acting as a single unit (max 6 individuals)
Physical environment has limited influence on the individual;
Human-environment interaction is a group based process.
Survival of the social.

Result: Cognitive, perceptual and affective mechanisms are selected if they support group membership.
Interpersonal relationships
Two entities that interact
Evolutionary function: sex, parent-child interaction
Social Identity and CCM
by:
Multiple (level) personality
Core configurations, and social identity have hierarchical structures that fit each other.
(Picket, 1999)
(Jetten et al., 1993)
(Leonardelli, 1998)
(Branscombe & Ellemers, 1998)
Uniqueness
Similarity
Autonomy
Intimacy /
Interdependence
Differentiation
Inclusion /
Belonging
OPPOSING DRIVES
Bottom Line:
HIGH ANXIETY
And organisms must
fit
to the environment of groups.
Here is a short history of groups:
Need to belong = Need for frequent interaction and persistent caring
(Baumeister & Leary, 1995)
We feel a strong need to belong to groups and when we are excluded, we suffer deeply.
Thanks.
1 - Multilevel Evolutionary Theory

2 - Core Configuration Model

3 - Optimal Distinctiveness Model

And all will be connected to social identity
SANNE
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