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The psychological evidence relating to the third assumption is from Tajfel et al’s (1970) “The Minimal Group Studies”. These studies investigated the prejudice associated in groups. His first experiment reviled that members favoured members in their own group. His second experiment found that members wanted to maximise the difference between the groups. Tajfel noted, “Attitudes towards ingroups and out groups had developed at an early age”. In relation to the article, he illustrated the ease discrimination was triggered off between the groups. The discrimination in the study, originated from the groups wanting to extend the division between the groups, to benefit their own group. With relation to the article, bullying was an example of the discrimination between an individual, who, feeling a member of the in-group, targeted another individual to broaden the gap between them. Furthermore, Adorno’s

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“Authoritarian Personality” (1950) proposed a variety of person, who was prejudice by virtue of specific traits. With relation to the article and Tajfel, the ‘prejudicial’ person is more likely to be the bully in the in-group, rather than the out-group. Using psychology to affect the issues raised in the source, a number of suggestions can be made. The first assumption, as mentioned, children growing up in an aggressive home environment are more likely to become bullies. Therefore these aggression levels should be reduced. In aggressive homes, I suggest that parents should be prevented from their aggressive behaviour, or at least in front of their children.

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If this behaviour was to become less vigilant to the child, the likelihood of imitating aggressive behaviour is far less likely. The consequences of the parents’ behaviour should be introduced to them, so they understand the direct effect of their behaviour has on their child, due to imitation. Baron (1977) reported a reduction in parental aggression, neutralises the child’s aggressive behaviour. Also the prevention of the child observing aggressive television programmes /video games, will reduce the child’s arousal and exposure to aggression, decreasing imitation and aggression associated with bullies. Positive reinforcement, Kimble (1961) of good behaviour by rewards, may also encourage the child to undertake good behaviour, rather than the aggressive.

In relation to the second assumption, emphasising the need for parenting, and mother/child bonds for the child’s development, I suggest if the bonds between mother and child are not apparent, then these bonds need to be resolved and strengthened. A suggestion for this, by involving both mother and child in activities together, such as playing. Over time, by strengthening the bond, the security levels would increase in the home, and the foundations for a healthy development of the child could be re-laid. Also steadily introducing affection by increasing the amount of hugs would help to build a healthy relationship between mother and child, as supported by Harlow (1959).

Parents experiencing problems should be made aware for the necessity for a happy home environment, if possible to change their rearing to be more affectionate. As it’s difficult to determine such families, advice may only be available through counselling.

In relation to the third assumption, I suggest that as intergroup discrimination is easily triggered off, Tajfel, then equality and respect for all should be taught from an early age, building relationship morals with one another. Students would learn everyone holds an equal place in society, therefore reducing the feelings of ingroup/outgroups. Consequently, when in natural competition, for example playing sport, respect would be present, therefore reducing the risk of discrimination between groups. If punishing is necessary, then according to Hoffman (1970), verbal explanations are more effective than physical punishment.


Introducing Psychological Research, by Philip Banyard and Andrew Grayson (1996) Key Studies in Psychology (third edition), by Richard Gross (1999) Psychology for A-Level

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Kylie Garcia

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