Severe initiation into a group

Caroline Kamau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


People severely initiated into a group often have stronger group affiliation than those undergoing a mild or no initiation. There is controversy over the correct theoretical explanation for this. The traditional explanation is that new members exaggerate their liking of the group as a way of avoiding cognitive dissonance. An explanation that has emerged more recently (e.g. Lodewijkx Syroit, 2001) has been that from the Severity-Affiliation-Attraction-Hypothesis (SAAH), suggesting that the evoked physiological arousal increases affiliation. These competing explanations were investigated. Experiments 1-2 suggested that the least amount of cognitive dissonance led to the highest amounts of group affiliation. Experiment 3 (ongoing) is testing SAAH by tracking physiological arousal whilst varying initiation of learner-drivers. Results, various rites-of-passage and cultural explanations will be discussed to extract conclusions on what severe initiations do to new group members and why.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSociety for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, 24-27 June 2010, New Orleans, United States of America.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


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