Skip to main content

The sibling rivalry that divided a town - Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer


2,101 Questions Answered

TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

One day a pair of brothers working together as shoemakers had an explosive fight that split the family business in two. Over the coming years, this disagreement divided their town— residents and businesses chose sides. Could such a serious divide really be about shoes? Doesn’t it take more significant differences to produce this degree of conflict? Jay Van Bavel and Dominic Packer investigate.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Read “The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony” or visit the Book Website, where this study and topic is explained in more detail.

Read more about Social Identity Theory.

Check out this primary source for Tajfel and colleagues’ minimal group experiments: Social categorization and intergroup behaviour

This Business Insider article digs deeper into the Adidas and Puma rivalry, and provides more information about what the rivalry is like today.

Even young children (ages 5-8) exhibit in-group preferences when they are assigned to minimal groups. Discriminatory preferences remain even when researchers work really hard to make sure the kids know the groups are meaningless. Indeed, the chance to affiliate makes the groups meaningful! See this article for more details.

Research suggests that people prefer minimal ingroups over outgroups because they expect these shared identities to facilitate cooperation within the group. They represent an opportunity for cooperation, that both children and adults are quick to seize upon.

This article by Rupert Brown (who recently published a biography of Henri Tajfel) provides an in depth account of the history of the minimal group paradigm.

Next Section »

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jay Van Bavel, Dominic Packer
  • Director Arvind Singh Jeena, Totem Creative
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Art Director Nikhita Prabhudesai
  • Storyboard Artist Saakshi Sankhe
  • Animator Saakshi Sankhe, Ayush Redkar, Arnav Gaikwad
  • Compositor Arvind Singh Jeena
  • Music Weston Fonger
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Senior Producer Anna Bechtol
  • Associate Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Soraya Field Fiorio
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

More from The Way We Think