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Social Conflict: Roots, Emergence, and Consequences of Conflict Within and Between Groups

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January 2017: Guest lecture on Interdependence and Conflict, Group Dynamics, Bachelor's Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Social Conflict: Roots, Emergence, and Consequences of Conflict Within and Between Groups

  1. 1. Social Conflict: Roots, Emergence, and Consequences of Conflict Within and Between Groups Simon Columbus Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam simon@simoncolumbus.com
  2. 2. What is Conflict? • A conflict of interests – Realistic Group Conflict theory (Sherif, 1966) – Interdependence theory (Kelley & Thibaut, 1973) – Dual Concern Theory (Pruitt & Rubin, 1986) • Incompatible behaviours – Theory of Cooperation and Competition (Deutsch, 1973) De Dreu (2010); Benard & Doan (2011)
  3. 3. Phases of Conflict • Emergence – Interdependence of outcomes – Attribution of deprivation • Motivation – Goals and strategies • Consequences – Identity, Attitudes, and Behaviour – Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and at group level De Dreu (2010)
  4. 4. Situations are Games • Any interpersonal situation can be represented as a ‘game’, a matrix of outcomes given choices. Kelley et al. (2003)
  5. 5. Situations are Games • Any interpersonal situation can be represented as a ‘game’, a matrix of outcomes given choices. happy unhappy unhappyindifferent happy unhappy indifferent indifferent Kelley et al. (2003)
  6. 6. Situations are Games • Any interpersonal situation can be represented as a ‘game’, a matrix of outcomes given choices. Kelley et al. (2003)
  7. 7. Outcome Interdependence People control their own and other’s outcomes. Members of groups control their own outcomes, their in-group’s outcomes, and the out- group’s outcomes. Kelley et al. (2003)
  8. 8. Outcome Controls Interdependence theory decomposes the matrix into sources of control: • the person’s own actions (‘Actor Control’, AC) • the partner’s actions (‘Partner Control’, PC) • the interaction between their two actions (‘Joint Control’, JC) Interdependence theory • A theory of how people control their own and other’s outcomes. Kelley et al. (2003)
  9. 9. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence
  10. 10. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence
  11. 11. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence
  12. 12. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence
  13. 13. Kelley et al. (2003)
  14. 14. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence • Future interdependence
  15. 15. Dimensions of Interdepedence From ratios of the outcome controls, we can derive six fundamental dimensions of interdependence, on which all situations vary: • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence • Future interdependence • Information certainty Kelley et al. (2003)
  16. 16. Summary Interdependence is the idea that in interpersonal situations, one’s outcomes are, in part, determined by the actions of others (and one may likewise control their outcomes) Any situation can be represented as a matrix of actions and outcomes A person’s outcomes are controlled by • the person’s own actions • their partner’s actions • the interaction between their two actions Each situation is characterised by six dimensions of interdependence • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interest • Asymmetry of dependence • Future interdependence • Information certainty
  17. 17. Conflict of Interest Pure correspondence Pure non-correspondence • “zero-sum” game Mixed-motive games • “nonzero-sum” game Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010) happy unhappy unhappyindifferent happy unhappy indifferent indifferent
  18. 18. Conflict of Interest Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010) Pure correspondence Pure non-correspondence • “zero-sum” game
  19. 19. Conflict of Interest Pure correspondence Pure non-correspondence • “zero-sum” game Mixed-motive games • “nonzero-sum” game Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010)
  20. 20. Mixed Motives Joint cooperation creates better outcomes for each party than mutual competition… … yet each party is better off by competing when the other is cooperating.
  21. 21. The Social Dilemma • Mutual cooperation (upper left) trumps mutual defection (lower right) • Unilateral defection (off-diagonals) trumps mutual cooperation
  22. 22. The Cold War: A Mixed-Motive Game
  23. 23. Nested Social Dilemmas Intergroup conflicts involve three levels (Bornstein, 2003) • Individual interests • Group interests • Collective interests Me vs. Just Us vs. Us All Wit & Kerr (2002)
  24. 24. Asymmetry of Dependence Power is when one party has more control over another party’s outcomes than vice-versa. • Partner and joint control • Threat capacity • Exit options De Dreu (2010)
  25. 25. Information Certainty “Whenever the facilities for communication are short of perfect, where there is inherent uncertainty about each other’s value systems or choices of strategies, and especially when an outcome must be reached by a sequence of moves…” Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010)
  26. 26. Information Certainty “Whenever the facilities for communication are short of perfect, where there is inherent uncertainty about each other’s value systems or choices of strategies, and especially when an outcome must be reached by a sequence of moves…” Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010)
  27. 27. Information Certainty “Whenever the facilities for communication are short of perfect, where there is inherent uncertainty about each other’s value systems or choices of strategies, and especially when an outcome must be reached by a sequence of moves…” Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010)
  28. 28. The Social Dilemma • Mutual cooperation (upper left) trumps mutual defection (lower right) • Unilateral defection (off-diagonals) trumps mutual cooperation
  29. 29. Conflict Becomes Manifest Fraternalistic deprivation • Attribution of one’s own deprivation to another person’s or an out- group’s actions • Action taken as a consequence of perceived deprivation makes conflict manifest De Dreu (2010)
  30. 30. Summary • Conflicts of interest are based on interdependence between individuals or groups • Interdependence varies from correspondence to non- correspondence of interests – Many situations involve “mixed motives”: benefits from cooperation, but incentives to defect – Intergroup conflicts are nested social dilemmas, involving individual, group, and collective interests • Conflicts involve symmetric or asymmetric dependence and varying information certainty • Conflict emerges when deprivation is attributed to the actions of another individual or an out-group • Conflict becomes manifest when perceived deprivation becomes the basis for action
  31. 31. What Motivates Non-cooperation? Greed • Non-cooperation yields more gains (or avoids greater losses) than cooperation Fear • Non-cooperation protects against exploitation by the other group Coombs (1976); De Dreu (2010)
  32. 32. Founded in Stereotypes Why do people fear the out- group? • Participants played an iterated PD against – A business student – A theology student • The first decision was more often non- cooperative against a business student De Dreu, Yzerbyt, & Leyens (1995)
  33. 33. What Motivates Cooperation? • Trust – Trust that the other party will cooperate – I.e., absence of fear – Not sufficient, but necessary for cooperation • Fairness – Distributive justice, i.e. equality of outcomes – Procedural justice, i.e. just process – Inequity and inequality avoidance motivate cooperation De Dreu (2010)
  34. 34. Cheap Talk Buys Trust Assurance • In case of a tie, both teams receive a bonus • Contribution out of fear Communication 0% contribute Chicken • In case of a tie, both teams receive nothing • Contribution out of greed 78% contribute Team games: Each participant can can contribute to the group effort, or refrain (Bornstein & Gilula, 2003).
  35. 35. Conflict between One and Many • Individual-group discontinuity – Inter-group encounters are less cooperative than inter-individual encounters • Greed: Social support for shared self-interest – “Acting as a group” • Fear: Schema-based distrust in groups – “Interacting with a group” Insko et al. (1990); Wildschut et al. (2003; 2007)
  36. 36. Conflict between One and Many Groups withdraw more • Fear Groups defect more • Greed Insko et al. (1990)
  37. 37. Conflict Between Groups Brewer (1999)
  38. 38. In-group Love and Out-group Hate Do people seek to promote their in-group, or to derogate their out- groups? • IPD: A choice between a selfish choice and intergroup conflict • IPD-MD: A choice between selfishness, out-group harm, or in- group benefit Halevy, Bornstein, & Sagiv (2008)
  39. 39. Two Sides of a Coin? Are “in-group love” and “out-group hate” two sides of a coin? • Across 30 African small- scale societies, in-group and out-group attitudes did not correlate (Brewer & Campbell, 1976; Brewer, 1999) • Social value orientation does not predict intergroup aggression (R. Böhm, pers. comm.)
  40. 40. Fear for Your Loved Ones IPD-MD: A choice between selfishness, out-group harm, or in-group benefit • Sequential: first-movers Conditions • Preemptive: out-group harm protects in-group • Secure: second-movers cannot harm out-group • More out-group harm when it protects, • Less out-group harm when it cannot be reciprocated Böhm, Rusch, & Gürerk (2016)
  41. 41. “One side seeks appropriation and expansion, the other survival and preservation of the status quo.” Aggressors Defenders
  42. 42. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders
  43. 43. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders
  44. 44. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders ≤
  45. 45. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders >
  46. 46. Aggressor-Defender Conflicts De Dreu, …, & Columbus (2016)
  47. 47. Summary • Non-cooperation is motivated by both fear and greed – Fear of specific groups may have historical antecedents, or be founded in stereotypes • Individuals rarely engage in non-instrumental out-group harm – Out-group harm is often motivated by defensive concerns – In exploiting an out-group, individuals are concerned for their individual outcomes
  48. 48. “Confronted by some danger common to all its individual members, they become fused with the ‘friendly’ human impulses […] in such a way as to strengthen and intensify […] the sense of organized social union and cooperative social interrelationship among them…” Margaret Mead (1934)
  49. 49. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity
  50. 50. Identity Fusion
  51. 51. Whitehouse et al. (2014)
  52. 52. “Some Danger Common to All” Does it matter whether a country attacks or defends? • National identity • Ethnic identity Survey data • World Values Survey • Afrobarometer Gibler, Hutchison, & Miller (2012)
  53. 53. Some Danger Common to Some Nigeria, 1995-2000 • Increased conflict coincided with increased national identity – 1995: 26.7% – 2000: 50.4% Gibler, Hutchison, & Miller (2012)
  54. 54. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms
  55. 55. Some Tolstoy, Some Dostoyevsky Lab experiments before, during, and after Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon Peer punishment as norm enforcement • Declining low offers in an Ultimatum Game • Altruistic in one-shot games under anonymity Gneezy & Fessler (2014)
  56. 56. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms • Heightened endorsement of centralised leadership
  57. 57. Simmel (1908)
  58. 58. The Road to Serfdom Three-player Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma or n-person Prisoner’s Dilemma • Several rounds of conflict • Vote to establish a central leader position • Leader could set minimum contribution and punish freeriders Equivocal results • Support for leadership only when the group performed badly Benard (2012)
  59. 59. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms • Heightened endorsement of centralised leadership • Greater intragroup cooperation
  60. 60. Conflict and Cooperation
  61. 61. Intergroup Competition Picking oranges at harvest season. Payment for… • Individual performance • Absolute group performance • Relative group performance = 376kg/group = 280kg/group = 380kg/group Erev, Bornstein, & Gilula (1993)
  62. 62. Summary The effects of intergroup conflict can be described by the “conflict-cohesion hypothesis”: • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms • Heightened endorsement of centralised leadership • Greater intragroup cooperation All of these are to varying degrees modulated by fear and greed
  63. 63. Conclusion

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