Home > Stereotype > Imagining intergroup contact reduces implicit prejudice

Imagining intergroup contact reduces implicit prejudice

Imagining intergroup contact reduces implicit prejudice

British Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 49, Issue 1, pages 129–142, March 2010

Rhiannon N. Turner1,*, Richard J. Crisp

Abstract


Recent research has demonstrated that imagining intergroup contact can be sufficient to reduce explicit prejudice directed towards out-groups. In this research, we examined the impact of contact-related mental imagery on implicit prejudice as measured by the implicit association test. We found that, relative to a control condition, young participants who imagined talking to an elderly stranger subsequently showed more positive implicit attitudes towards elderly people in general. In a second study, we demonstrated that, relative to a control condition, non-Muslim participants who imagined talking to a Muslim stranger subsequently showed more positive implicit attitudes towards Muslims in general. We discuss the implications of these findings for furthering the application of indirect contact strategies aimed at improving intergroup relations.

According to the contact hypothesis (Allport, 1954), contact between members of opposing groups should lead to more positive out-group attitudes. There has been a great deal of research on intergroup contact in the past half-century, much of it investigating whether contact works in a range of intergroup contexts and with a variety of different target groups (e.g. Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Recently, work on intergroup contact has focused on two important issues. First, there is a growing interest in the different types of intergroup contact that might be effective at reducing prejudice (e.g. Turner, Hewstone, & Voci, 2007; Wright, Aron, McLaughlin-Volpe, & Ropp, 1997). Second, recent research has investigated the diverse potential consequences of intergroup contact, revealing that intergroup contact may be associated with more positive implicit out-group attitudes (Aberson & Haag, 2007; Turner, Hewstone et al., 2007). In this paper, we integrate these two areas of research by investigating whether a new indirect form of intergroup contact, imagined intergroup contact, predicts more positive implicit out-group attitudes.

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