The Intergroup Prisoner's Dilemma Game as a Model of Intergroup Conflict

Gary Bornstein

Intergroup conflicts are characterized by conflicts of interests within the competing groups as well. The intragroup conflict stems from a basic fact: while all group members are better off if they all cooperate in competing against the outgroup, each individual group member is better off defecting. The Intergroup Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD) game is proposed as a theoretical framework for combining the intragroup and intergroup levels of conflict. This framework is used to examine major issues concerning individual and group behavior in intergroup conflict. These include: the effect of real intergroup conflict on intragroup cooperation; the motivational basis of cooperation; the distinction between non-cooperative groups, unitary groups, and individuals; and alternative routes to conflict resolution.

September, 2001
Published in: 
L. Backman & C. von Hofsten (Eds.) Psychology at the Turn of the Millenium: Social, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives.