The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiments

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Author: Gina Perry

Category: Mathematics & science , Society & social sciences

Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925322354

RRP: $32.99

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Competition. Prejudice. Discrimination. Conflict.

Competition. Prejudice. Discrimination. Conflict.

In 1954, a group of boys attended a remote summer camp where they were split into two groups, and encouraged to bully, harass, and demonise each other. The results would make history as one of social psychology’s classic – and most controversial – studies- the Robbers Cave experiment.

Conducted at the height of the Cold War, the experiment officially had a happy ending- the boys reconciled, and psychologist Muzafer Sherif demonstrated that while hatred and violence are powerful forces, so too are cooperation and harmony. Today it is proffered as proof that under the right conditions warring groups can make peace. Yet the true story of the experiments is far more complex, and more chilling.

In The Lost Boys, Gina Perry explores the experiment and its consequences, tracing the story of Sherif, a troubled outsider who struggled to craft an experiment that would vanquish his personal demons. Drawing on archival material and new interviews, Perry pieces together a story of drama, mutiny, and intrigue that has never been told before.



‘When the first punch is thrown in the opening chapter, you know you’re in for a wild ride. In The Lost Boys, academic sleuth Gina Perry investigates the back story of a real-life Lord of the Flies study of human behaviour at a summer camp. The fascinating journey – which takes us through the history of psychology, Turkey, and even American summer camps – reads more like a detective novel than a psychological history book.’
– Susannah Cahalan, author of the New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire

‘This is a wonderful book; I couldn’t stop reading once I started. Gina Perry is not only a thorough researcher, she’s also a great writer. A lot of psychology textbooks will have to updated after her groundbreaking research.’
-Rutger Bregman, author of The Sunday Times bestseller Utopia for Realists

‘ This long profile of him Sherif , and description of his experiment, will likely remain unsurpassed.’
-Publishers Weekly

Gina Perry is an Australian writer whose feature articles, columns, and essays have been published in The Age and The Australian, and her short fiction has been published in a number of literary magazines, including Meanjin, Westerly, and Island.

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