Social Fitness Challenge #8: Help someone feel included in a group setting.
Research initiated by psychologist, Henri Tajfel, in the 1970’s has shown us that all it takes for us to begin to carve out our social worlds into “us” and “them” is the random flip of a coin.
Only minutes after being divided into the A or B group by the coin flip, the participants in Tajfel’s experiment rated members of both groups on various attributes, such as intelligence and likability. Overwhelmingly, people rated the members of their own group as more likable and intelligent. They also rated the members of the other group as having less variety in personality than individuals in their own group. Within the span of only a few moments, these ordinary people began to stereotype the other group and to treat them with discrimination – even though the members of both groups were complete strangers at the beginning of the experiment. Tajfel called this phenomenon theminimal group paradigm.
Imagine how difficult it must be to break into an established social group, when the members of the “in” group have developed prejudices against those who are not members of their group. By reaching out to someone who is not a member of your social group, you can facilitate the group’s acceptance of new members.