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Intergroup Conflict:
An Interdependence Perspective
Simon Columbus
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Wilson et al. (2014)
Conflict is Human
An Interdependence Perspective
• Interdependence
theory
– A theory of outcome
interdependence
– Kelley & Thibaut (1978),
K...
What is Conflict?
• A conflict of interests
– Realistic Group Conflict theory (Sherif, 1966)
– Interdependence theory (Kel...
Phases of Conflict
• Emergence
– Interdependence of outcomes
– Attribution of deprivation
• Motivation
– Goals and strateg...
Outcome Interdependence
People control their own
and other’s outcomes.
Members of groups
control their own
outcomes, their...
Outcome Interdependence
• Degree of
interdependence
• Basis of
interdependence
• Conflict of interests
• Asymmetry of
depe...
Conflict of Interest
Pure correspondence
Pure non-correspondence
• “zero-sum” game
Mixed-motive games
• “nonzero-sum” game...
Mixed Motives
Joint cooperation creates
better outcomes for each
party than mutual
competition… … yet each party is better...
The Social Dilemma
• Mutual cooperation
(upper left) trumps
mutual defection (lower
right)
• Unilateral defection
(off-dia...
The Cold War: A Mixed-Motive Game
Nested
Social Dilemmas
Intergroup conflicts
involve three levels
(Bornstein, 2003)
• Individual interests
• Group interest...
A Taxonomy of Team Games
Step-level
Intergroup Public Good game
• Invest to tie or win
Chicken game
• Invest to win
Interg...
Asymmetry of Dependence
Power is when one party
has more control over
another party’s outcomes
than vice-versa.
• Partner ...
Information Certainty
“Whenever the facilities
for communication are
short of perfect, where
there is inherent
uncertainty...
Information Certainty
“Whenever the facilities
for communication are
short of perfect, where
there is inherent
uncertainty...
Information Certainty
“Whenever the facilities
for communication are
short of perfect, where
there is inherent
uncertainty...
The Social Dilemma
• Mutual cooperation
(upper left) trumps
mutual defection (lower
right)
• Unilateral defection
(off-dia...
Conflict Becomes Manifest
Fraternalistic deprivation
• Attribution of one’s own
deprivation to an out-
group’s actions
• A...
Summary
• Conflicts of interest are based on the interdependence
between groups
• Interdependence varies from corresponden...
Motivation
Individual interests
• Intergroup conflict
involves the pursuit of
individual interests
Social dilemma approach...
In-group love and out-group hate
Do people seek to
promote their in-group, or
to derogate their out-
groups?
• IPD: A choi...
Two Sides of a Coin?
Are “in-group love” and
“out-group hate” two sides
of a coin?
• Across 30 African small-
scale societ...
What Motivates Defection?
Greed
• Non-cooperation yields
more gains (or avoids
greater losses) than
cooperation
Fear
• Non...
Founded in Stereotypes
Why do people fear the out-
group?
• Participants played an
iterated PD against
– A business studen...
What Motivates Cooperation?
• Trust
– Trust that the other
party will cooperate
– I.e., absence of fear
– Not sufficient, ...
Cheap Talk Buys Trust
Assurance
• In case of a tie, both
teams receive a bonus
• Contribution out of fear
Communication
0%...
Conflict between One and Many
• Individual-group
discontinuity
– Inter-group encounters
are less cooperative than
inter-in...
Conflict between One and Many
Groups withdraw more
• Fear
Group defect more
• Greed Insko et al. (1990)
Fear for Your Loved Ones
IPD-MD: A choice between
selfishness, out-group
harm, or in-group benefit
• Sequential: first-mov...
“One side seeks appropriation and expansion,
the other survival and preservation of the status
quo.”
Aggressors Defenders
Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game
Aggressors Defenders
Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game
Aggressors Defenders
Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game
Aggressors Defenders
≤
Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game
Aggressors Defenders
>
Aggressor-Defender Conflicts
De Dreu, …, & Columbus (2016)
Summary
• Non-cooperation is motivated by both fear
and greed
– Fear of specific groups may have historical
antecedents, o...
“Confronted by some danger common to all its
individual members, they become fused with
the ‘friendly’ human impulses […] ...
The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis
• Strengthened group identity
Identity Fusion
Whitehouse et al. (2014)
“Some Danger Common to All”
Does it matter whether a
country attacks or
defends?
• National identity
• Ethnic identity
Sur...
Some Danger Common to Some
Nigeria, 1995-2000
• Increased conflict
coincided with
increased national
identity
– 1995: 26.7...
The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis
• Strengthened group identity
• Increased enforcement of group norms
Some Tolstoy, Some Dostoyevsky
Lab experiments before,
during, and after Israel’s
2006 war on Lebanon
Peer punishment as n...
The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis
• Strengthened group identity
• Increased enforcement of group norms
• Heightened endorse...
Simmel (1908)
The Road to Serfdom
Three-player Intergroup Prisoner’s
Dilemma or n-person Prisoner’s
Dilemma
• Several rounds of conflict...
“Groups in a War are Not Tolerant”
Does it matter whether a
state attacks or defends?
• Correlates of War data
• Political...
The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis
• Strengthened group identity
• Increased enforcement of group norms
• Heightened endorse...
Conflict and Cooperation
Intergroup Competition
Picking oranges at harvest
season. Payment for…
• Individual
performance
• Absolute group
performan...
A Threshold Game
Intergroup conflict is
(often) a threshold game
• A threshold must be
reached to provide a
public good (e...
Nothing to It, After All?
Intergroup Conflict
vs.
Social Threshold
Non-social Threshold
Symbolic Reward
Aggression and Defense
Aggression and defense
• Against a human out-
group
• Against a “force of
nature”
Caution: Prelimin...
Aggression and Defense
Why might intergroup
conflict increase defense,
but decrease aggression?
• Schema-based distrust:
g...
Summary
The effects of intergroup conflict can be described
by the “conflict-cohesion hypothesis”:
• Strengthened group id...
Conclusion
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective
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Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective

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Guest lecture, Group Processes, BSc. Politics, Psychology, Law, and Economics, University of Amsterdam

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Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective

  1. 1. Intergroup Conflict: An Interdependence Perspective Simon Columbus Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  2. 2. Wilson et al. (2014)
  3. 3. Conflict is Human
  4. 4. An Interdependence Perspective • Interdependence theory – A theory of outcome interdependence – Kelley & Thibaut (1978), Kelley et al. (2003) • Team games – An approach of studying intergroup conflict using games between teams – Bornstein (2003)
  5. 5. 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)
  6. 6. 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)
  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 Interdependence • Degree of interdependence • Basis of interdependence • Conflict of interests • Asymmetry of dependence • Information certainty • Future interdependence Kelley et al. (2003)
  9. 9. Conflict of Interest Pure correspondence Pure non-correspondence • “zero-sum” game Mixed-motive games • “nonzero-sum” game Schelling (1960); De Dreu (2010)
  10. 10. 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.
  11. 11. The Social Dilemma • Mutual cooperation (upper left) trumps mutual defection (lower right) • Unilateral defection (off-diagonals) trumps mutual cooperation
  12. 12. The Cold War: A Mixed-Motive Game
  13. 13. 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)
  14. 14. A Taxonomy of Team Games Step-level Intergroup Public Good game • Invest to tie or win Chicken game • Invest to win Intergroup Assurance game • Invest to tie Continuous Intergroup Prisoner’s Dilemma game • Never invest Bornstein (2003)
  15. 15. 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)
  16. 16. 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)
  17. 17. 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)
  18. 18. 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)
  19. 19. The Social Dilemma • Mutual cooperation (upper left) trumps mutual defection (lower right) • Unilateral defection (off-diagonals) trumps mutual cooperation
  20. 20. Conflict Becomes Manifest Fraternalistic deprivation • Attribution of one’s own deprivation to an out- group’s actions • Action taken as a consequence of perceived deprivation makes conflict manifest De Dreu (2010)
  21. 21. Summary • Conflicts of interest are based on the interdependence between 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 an out-group • Conflict becomes manifest when perceived deprivation becomes the basis for action
  22. 22. Motivation Individual interests • Intergroup conflict involves the pursuit of individual interests Social dilemma approach Group identity • Intergroup conflict involves group identity and collective goals Social Identity Theory Yamagishi & Mifune (2016)
  23. 23. 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)
  24. 24. 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.)
  25. 25. What Motivates Defection? 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)
  26. 26. 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)
  27. 27. 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)
  28. 28. 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).
  29. 29. 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)
  30. 30. Conflict between One and Many Groups withdraw more • Fear Group defect more • Greed Insko et al. (1990)
  31. 31. 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)
  32. 32. “One side seeks appropriation and expansion, the other survival and preservation of the status quo.” Aggressors Defenders
  33. 33. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders
  34. 34. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders
  35. 35. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders ≤
  36. 36. Aggressor-Defender Conflict Game Aggressors Defenders >
  37. 37. Aggressor-Defender Conflicts De Dreu, …, & Columbus (2016)
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. “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)
  40. 40. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity
  41. 41. Identity Fusion
  42. 42. Whitehouse et al. (2014)
  43. 43. “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)
  44. 44. 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)
  45. 45. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms
  46. 46. 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)
  47. 47. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms • Heightened endorsement of centralised leadership
  48. 48. Simmel (1908)
  49. 49. 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
  50. 50. “Groups in a War are Not Tolerant” Does it matter whether a state attacks or defends? • Correlates of War data • Political Terror Scale “Revisionist” states: attacks to conquer • Democracies increase internal suppression • Autocracies decrease internal suppression
  51. 51. The Conflict-Cohesion Hypothesis • Strengthened group identity • Increased enforcement of group norms • Heightened endorsement of centralised leadership • Greater intragroup cooperation
  52. 52. Conflict and Cooperation
  53. 53. Intergroup Competition Picking oranges at harvest season. Payment for… • Individual performance • Absolute group performance • Relative group performance = 376kg/group = 280kg/group = 380kg/group
  54. 54. A Threshold Game Intergroup conflict is (often) a threshold game • A threshold must be reached to provide a public good (e.g., a bonus) • The threshold is set by the contribution of the other group (Bornstein, 2003)
  55. 55. Nothing to It, After All? Intergroup Conflict vs. Social Threshold Non-social Threshold Symbolic Reward
  56. 56. Aggression and Defense Aggression and defense • Against a human out- group • Against a “force of nature” Caution: Preliminary finding!
  57. 57. Aggression and Defense Why might intergroup conflict increase defense, but decrease aggression? • Schema-based distrust: groups are threatening • Optimal response: defend more, attack less (often)
  58. 58. 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
  59. 59. Conclusion

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