Someone reminded me of the Robber’s Cave experiment last night. It was quite an amusing study with a serious motive of showing how easily opposing in-groups and group hostilities can form. It also showed how having superordinate goals can counteract this phenomenon.
Basically, if you’re finding yourself in the situation (as, lets face it, we often are) of taking sides and forming prejudice about other teams or groups a la Lord of the Flies you’re succumbing to base, instinctive behaviour which was probably quite useful when we hunted in packs, but has little value in modern society.
Next time you find yourself in this situation, think about what superordinate goals you share with the “opposing group”, so that rather than back slapping each other about how amazing your group is and how weak and feeble they are, you can all work together to get what you want.