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Developing interventions to encourage intergroup contact Rhiannon Turner and Keon West University of Leeds SLN Research Day, Bradford, 23 August 2011 SLN.

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Presentation on theme: "Developing interventions to encourage intergroup contact Rhiannon Turner and Keon West University of Leeds SLN Research Day, Bradford, 23 August 2011 SLN."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developing interventions to encourage intergroup contact Rhiannon Turner and Keon West University of Leeds SLN Research Day, Bradford, 23 August 2011 SLN Research Day, Bradford, 23 August 2011

2 Background Research shows that positive, friendly encounters between members of different groups can lead to more positive intergroup relations Research shows that positive, friendly encounters between members of different groups can lead to more positive intergroup relations Positive outcomes of intergroup contact include more positive attitudes, lower levels of anxiety, and greater mutual trust, empathy, and respect between members of different groups (e.g., Turner & Feddes, 2011; Turner et al., 2007) Positive outcomes of intergroup contact include more positive attitudes, lower levels of anxiety, and greater mutual trust, empathy, and respect between members of different groups (e.g., Turner & Feddes, 2011; Turner et al., 2007)

3 Key research questions How can we encourage people to engage in positive intergroup contact in the first place? How can we encourage people to engage in positive intergroup contact in the first place? How can we ensure that when people do meet members of other groups, the encounters are successful? How can we ensure that when people do meet members of other groups, the encounters are successful?

4 2 interventions have been developed that might help... Extended contact Extended contact Knowledge of ingroup members who have outgroup friendsKnowledge of ingroup members who have outgroup friends Imagined contact Imagined contact Imagining interactions with outgroup members Generate more positive attitudes and expectations, and therefore reduce anxiety about interacting with other groups Contact should be (a) more likely, and (b) more comfortable and enjoyable when it does arise

5 The research On the following slides, we present some initial research which demonstrate the benefits of extended and imagined contact On the following slides, we present some initial research which demonstrate the benefits of extended and imagined contact

6 Extended contact This is the idea that knowing, observing, or learning about members of your group who have friends in another group can results in more positive attitudes towards that group This is the idea that knowing, observing, or learning about members of your group who have friends in another group can results in more positive attitudes towards that group This is because it provides us with a positive model of intergroup relations, showing us that members of our group and another group can get along This is because it provides us with a positive model of intergroup relations, showing us that members of our group and another group can get along

7 Testing extended contact 120 White British high school students, aged completed a questionnaire about their experiences with Asians 120 White British high school students, aged completed a questionnaire about their experiences with Asians Our questions included the following... Our questions included the following... Extended contact, e.g., ‘How many White people do you know who have Asian friends?’ Extended contact, e.g., ‘How many White people do you know who have Asian friends?’ Intergroup anxiety, e.g., How nervous, tense, scared etc do you feel about mixing socially with Asians?’ Intergroup anxiety, e.g., How nervous, tense, scared etc do you feel about mixing socially with Asians?’ Outgroup attitude, e.g., To what extend to you think Asians are “cold-warm”, “negative-positive” Outgroup attitude, e.g., To what extend to you think Asians are “cold-warm”, “negative-positive”

8 Findings -.38** Outgroup Attitude Intergroup anxiety y 10 y 11 y 12 y * Extended contact y3y3 y 4 We found that people with experience of extended contact – who knew members of their own group (other White people) who had Asian friends – were less anxious about intergroup contact, and had more positive attitudes towards people who are Asian. We found that people with experience of extended contact – who knew members of their own group (other White people) who had Asian friends – were less anxious about intergroup contact, and had more positive attitudes towards people who are Asian.

9 Testing imagined contact Imagined contact is the mental simulation of a social interaction with a member or members of an outgroup category. Imagined contact is the mental simulation of a social interaction with a member or members of an outgroup category. It is thought to work by automatically activating activate concepts associated with successful interactions with outgroup members, such as feeling more relaxed and comfortable. It is thought to work by automatically activating activate concepts associated with successful interactions with outgroup members, such as feeling more relaxed and comfortable. The imagination task also gives people the chance to think about what they might learn from such an interaction, how they might feel, and how this might influence their perceptions The imagination task also gives people the chance to think about what they might learn from such an interaction, how they might feel, and how this might influence their perceptions In sum, it should make people feel more relaxed about and familiar with the prospect of actual contact In sum, it should make people feel more relaxed about and familiar with the prospect of actual contact

10 Testing imagined contact 36 British high school students (aged ) did one of the following tasks: 36 British high school students (aged ) did one of the following tasks: Imagination task Imagination task “We would like you to take a minute to imagine yourself meeting an asylum seeker for the first time. Imagine that the interaction is positive, relaxed and comfortable.”“We would like you to take a minute to imagine yourself meeting an asylum seeker for the first time. Imagine that the interaction is positive, relaxed and comfortable.” Control condition Control condition “We would like you to take a minute to imagine yourself meeting a stranger. Imagine that the interaction is positive, relaxed and comfortable.”“We would like you to take a minute to imagine yourself meeting a stranger. Imagine that the interaction is positive, relaxed and comfortable.”

11 Testing imagined contact Participants imagined the scenario for two minutes, and then wrote down what they had imagined Participants imagined the scenario for two minutes, and then wrote down what they had imagined We then measured We then measured Attitudes towards asylum seekersAttitudes towards asylum seekers Trustworthiness of asylum seekersTrustworthiness of asylum seekers Desire to approach asylum seekers (e.g., get to know them, find out more about them)Desire to approach asylum seekers (e.g., get to know them, find out more about them)

12 Findings Control conditionImagined contact condition Participants who imagined contact trusted asylum seekers more, had more positive attitudes towards them and were more keen to get to meet and get to know them Participants who imagined contact trusted asylum seekers more, had more positive attitudes towards them and were more keen to get to meet and get to know them

13 Ongoing research We are now investigating the effect of extended and imagined contact interventions on actual behaviour towards members of groups We are now investigating the effect of extended and imagined contact interventions on actual behaviour towards members of groups

14 Suggested reading for those who are interested Turner, R. N., & Feddes, A. (in press) How intergroup friendship works: A longitudinal study of friendship effects on outgroup attitudes. European Journal of Social Psychology Turner, R. N., Hewstone, M., & Voci, A. (2007). Reducing explicit and implicit prejudice via direct and extended contact: The mediating role of self-disclosure and intergroup anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, Turner, R. N., Hewstone, M., Voci, A., & Vonofakou, C. (2008). A test of the extended intergroup contact hypothesis: The mediating role of intergroup anxiety, perceived ingroup and outgroup norms, and inclusion of the outgroup in the self. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, Turner, R. N., & West, K. (in press). Behavioural consequences of imagining intergroup contact with stigmatized outgroups. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. Turner, R. N., & West, K. (in press). Behavioural consequences of imagining intergroup contact with stigmatized outgroups. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. Turner, R. N., West, K., & Christie, Z. (in press). Outgroup trust, intergroup anxiety, and outgroup attitude as mediators of the effect of imagined intergroup contact on intergroup behavioural tendencies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Turner, R. N., West, K., & Christie, Z. (in press). Outgroup trust, intergroup anxiety, and outgroup attitude as mediators of the effect of imagined intergroup contact on intergroup behavioural tendencies. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. For copies, me at For copies, me at


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