The Flip of a Group

December 22, 2012 |  by

How easily do we fall into groups?

A 1973 experiment by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and Michael Billig showed it doesn’t take a strong association with family, friends or community to form a group.

In fact, nothing more than a coin flip. After being divided into a “heads” group and a “tails” groups, participants in the study immediately began favoring members of their own group over those who were “different.” There was nothing at stake—it wasn’t a contest and group members did not even meet each other. Still, those who group members viewed as “one of them” received better treatment.

Apparently, it’s in our nature.


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