Cooperation and competition were also targeted by Muzafer and Carolyn Sherif in a series of classic studies dealing with goal structures and their effects on both intra- and intergroup relations (Sherif & Sherif, 1953; Sherif, Harvey, White, Hood, & Sherif, 1961). The theoretical basis for this work was built, first, on an understanding of “norms” in social relations. 
Collectives, including twosomes, become groups only when norms that are generated distinguish group members from others and promote solidarity in members’ social relations with one another. A series of field experiments, completed in the 1940s and 1950s, demonstrated vividly how norms govern informal peer groups, and how cooperation and competition affect both group members’ relationships with one another and with other groups. 

Social identity theory (Tajfel, 1981) also deals with group formation, intragroup relations, and intergroup relations. Some of the best known ideas within this theoretical framework include the notions that once groups are established, members accentuate differences between themselves and other groups, exaggerating their own positive attributes but overstating the negative characteristics of other groups and their members. Members reinforce these characterizations during interaction within groups, and these validations enhance group identity and solidarity.

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