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Do Intergroup Conflicts Necessarily Result from Outgroup Hate?

posted Jun 6, 2014, 2:52 PM by Michael Maes   [ updated Jan 27, 2016, 7:00 AM ]
PLoS One published an experimental paper on the motives underlying conflicts between groups.

We developed a new experimental design to test whether or not individuals engage in conflict between social groups because they seek to harm outgroup members. Challenging prominent social psychological theories, we did not find support for such negative social preferences. Nevertheless, subjects heavily engaged in group conflict. Results support the argument that processes that act within social groups motivate engagement in conflict between groups even in the absence of negative social preferences. In particular, we found that “cheap talk” communication between group members fuels conflict. Analyses did not support the notion that the effect of communication results from guilt-aversion processes.

You can find the paper here.