The defiance and defense of group norms: why extremism is the bread and butter of social life

Abrams, Dominic (2008) The defiance and defense of group norms: why extremism is the bread and butter of social life. In: Claremont Symposium on Applied Social Psychology: Extremism and the Psychology of Uncertainty, 6th April 2008, Claremont Graduate College, California, USA. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Dr. Dominic Abrams presents his research on the way people react to extreme, or 'deviant' members of their own and other groups. Group psychology has long established that deviants tend to be rejected within groups, but there are many times when they serve another important function, namely to define the limits of what it means to be a group member. This way, deviants can on the one hand be used to constrain other members, and on the other to test just how fanatical members can be before they are judged to be 'extreme'. Based on his research, using laboratory experiments and field studies with adults and children, Dr. Abrams states the need to distinguish between different types of deviance (descriptive and prescriptive), and that the magnitude and direction of deviance have separate implications for the way deviant members are treated. The developmental research also shows that responses to deviants require quite complex forms of social reasoning, including advanced perspective taking skills and understanding who the audience is. Taken together, Dr. Abrams' research shows how extremists both create and reduce uncertainty, and why they are so important in relations within and between social groups.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Anna Johns
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2010 13:57
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2014 09:37
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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