Essay and Answer Writing

Robbers’ Cave Experiment

A classic experiment known as ‘Robbers’ Cave Experiment’ was conducted in the 1950s by Mazafer Sherif to understand the reason of the cooperation and conflict between different social groups. In the experiment, 22 eleven year old boys were randomly divided into two groups of eleven each. They were taken to Robbers’ Cave State Park in Oklahoma for a summer camp. The groups were named Eagles and Rattlers. These two groups spent a week apart, not knowing the existence of the other group. During this one- week period, each group had lots of fun as they played together. Gradually, the group members developed intimacy and bonding with each other.
After a week, these two groups were finally integrated. The researchers found to their surprise that each group had developed an independent identity within this short period, and were verbally abusing the other group and calling them names. When the researchers resorted to competition between the two groups, the enmity increased many-fold. They even refused to eat in the same room.
Thereafter, in the next phase of the experiment, Sheriff designed activities in which both groups had to play together, solve a problem together and shoot firecrackers. Gradually the two groups reconciled. Finally, they became friends and the boys decided to ride the same bus home.
The experiment established the role of the conditioning of mind when we live together for a long time. 
Robbers’ Cave Experiment

Source: “Mastering Essay & Answer Writing for UPSC Civil Services IAS/ IPS & State PSC Main Exam” by Dr Awdhesh Singh, available at

Related Articles
• Management of Indian border disputes – a complex task? [2018]
• The PPP model of development [2012]
• “To test a man’s character, give him power”
• “Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere” [2018]
• GDP along with GNH as the indices for measuring progress
• The relevance of Gandhi in modern times [2012]
• Hyper Globalism: a threat to human prosperity?
• Business Process Outsourcing in India: a booming phenomenon? [2007]
• Covid-19 and the BioMedical Waste crisis
• Non-Performing Assets in the banking sector: causes and solutions
Recent Articles
• Q14. The Challenges of An NGO
• Q13. Protest Against An MNC
• Q11. The Difficulty of A Destitute Woman
• Q10. Rehabilitation of Adivasis
• Q9. Discharging Toxic Waste in River
• Q8. The Morality of State Bureaucracy
• Q7. Management of Anger
• Q1(b). Impartiality and Non-partisanship
• Q6. Undesirable Values Prevalent in India
• Q5. Law and Ethics for Civilized Social Existence