These conflicts have academically necessitated the study of social psychology to the study of conflict by highlighting the inter-group activities like undercurrents in the society. Along with the societal change, social psychological research too changes and it is important to find the variables in the altering framework that might lead to conflict, prejudice, hatred, fellow-feeling, their increase or sometimes their reduction etc., because social psychology invariably reflects the inherent cultural and political processes that shape the collective relations.
Study of the prejudiced personality comes from the deep-seated inflexibility of thought and attitude, rigidity in thinking terms of white and black and inability to see the colors in between the two. Authoritarian Personality theory and Dogmatic Personality theory account for this. In recent years, such deep-rooted theories of segregating people according to race, color, ethnicity and generalizing their psychology have been successfully challenged and the modern psychological concepts and methods of intergroup relations and individualized psychological approaches have become more and more pronounced.
"Because they are fundamental to our cognitive architecture, cognitive social theorists argue that categories and stereotypes are difficult to alter and may sometimes be applied in an automatic and unreflexive manner. Research on so-called implicit prejudice has been described as one of the most important recent developments in the social psychology of intergroup processes" (book 1).
Conventionally prejudice was measured by explicit and implicit expressions of bias and prejudice, although this perspective is not admired any more for the simple reason that prejudice need not be expressed all the time; but still could be part of a person's mental makeup. Also showing random photos or flashing images of people belonging to other races and cultures need not bring out the deep-seated anger or despise and according to aversive racism theory 'aversive racists consciously sympathizes with the victims of historical injustice and support racial equality'.
The group-based approaches of Sherif and Tajfel are more connected with the mob mentality like that of Northern Ireland, where during a funeral procession two British soldiers were killed by the mourning mob and the event got telecasted showing the psychology behind the gory incident as graphic proof of mob's brutality as a result of compulsion to retaliate and friction between ingroup and outgroup members of the mob, braying for violence without any particular pattern while going through a very strong sense of group identity bordering to momentarily dominating social identity that might not linger for a long time in the same group, because in social psychology, stereotypes do not last for long. It is really important here to know the friction between individual psychology and collective psychology that might give way to organized struggles and not just mob fury.
"Thus, one cannot begin to understand the emergence of political conflict in places such as Northern Ireland, Palestine and apartheid South Africa without also understanding how struggles to redefine identity have been nurtured by a growing sense of the illegitimacy and vulnerability of the social hierarchy" (book one).