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Robbers Cave Experiment

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Randy Balcueva

Human Nature has come across my mind and as so my own opinion on the matter. I believe in human nature as the response to competition; threat. If one’s own existence were to be threatened by a competitor—whether it be competition over matters such as food, job, etc.--then one would respond to the matter by attempting to wipe-out its competition, thus protecting its existence to carry-on with its life.

The Robber’s Cave Experiment—which in my-own opinion reflects human nature perfectly—is a good example of how I image human nature. Muzafer Sherif—who is the social psychologist mostly responsible for the Robber’s Cave Experiment—argued that, “intergroup conflict occurs when two groups are in competition for limited resources,” which is a redefined version of my own opinion. The brief summary I shall provide will help those that are unfamiliar with the experiment: Two groups of twenty boys (ten for each group) are sent to live isolated from society in Robbers Cave State Park in Oklahoma in the summer of 1954. These boys all come of similar race, background, culture, etc., and aren’t knowledgeable to there being another group. After the boys had settled-in, they were then put in competition against the other group, in which the winning group would receive a trophy and medals of sorts whilst the losing group received nothing. Other such scenarios were devised to delay the other group to an event thus allowing one group to take what was intended for the other group for themselves, allowing for grudges to be made between the two groups. Eventually, the groups began to fight verbally and physically against one-another, thus leading to prove that human nature existed in competition to survive.


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