The Robber’s Cave experiment
Can a social psychology experiment (see Realistic Conflict Theory) fully explain a conflict like the American Civil War (or any conflict)?
No, but it gets close. What we are missing here is the role of individual personalities rippling across the event. To be clear, I am not talking about authoritarian personality theory, but rather how emergent leaders (which is covered by RCT) shape the course of a conflict.
Is in-group bias always at play? Even when that bias tilts towards social justice versus exclusionary harm? I’m thinking of you, John Brown.
Radical abolitionist John Brown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)