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An experimental comparison of direct and indirect intergroup contact

Ioannou, M., Al Ramiah, A. & Hewstone, M., May-2018, In : Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 76, p. 393-403 11 p.

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  • An experimental comparison of direct and indirect intergroup contact

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DOI

Indirect forms of intergroup contact, such as extended and vicarious contact, are thought to provide a promising alternative to direct contact, but very few studies have compared the effectiveness of these two types of contact to confirm this claim. Furthermore, Wright, Aron, McLaughlin-Volpe, and Ropp (1997) postulated, but did not test, that the usefulness of extended (or vicarious) over direct contact lies in these forms of indirect contact being likely to elicit less anxiety and more group salience at the time of the interaction, both of which are beneficial for contact. The present paper reports two experiments comparing the effects of direct and vicarious contact on: (i) outgroup attitudes and anxiety for future contact both immediately after contact (posttest) as well as a week later (delayed posttest), and (ii) their elicited interaction-induced anxiety and group salience. Both studies were conducted in Cyprus, with Greek Cypriot participants and the Turkish Cypriot community as the outgroup. Results did not support Wright et al.'s postulations. They furthermore showed that direct contact had a relative advantage over vicarious contact in leading to more positive outgroup attitudes at posttest, but that attitudes reverted to pretest levels for both conditions at delayed posttest. Vicarious, unlike direct, contact, did, however, lead to a persistent reduction of anxiety for future contact, thus suggesting that the greatest utility of indirect forms of contact may lie in their emotionally preparing individuals for subsequent face-to-face interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-403
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume76
Publication statusPublished - May-2018

    Keywords

  • Direct contact, Vicarious contact, Outgroup attitudes, Anxiety for future contact, SOCIAL-COGNITIVE THEORY, CROSS-GROUP FRIENDSHIPS, EXTENDED CONTACT, NORTHERN-IRELAND, MEDIATING ROLE, PREJUDICE, ATTITUDES, ANXIETY, MINORITY, MAJORITY

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