According to the extended contact effect, merely knowing that a member of our group has a close friend from another group can improve our attitudes toward that group. This means that even a relatively small number of cross-group friendships can have a wide impact on prejudice and thus can influence relations between groups on a large scale. The extended contact effect is an expansion of the contact hypothesis, which has a longer history.

Sixty years of research has convincingly demonstrated that positive interactions with people from another group, under the right circumstances, can reduce prejudice and create feelings of warmth and respect toward that group. In 1947, R. M. Williams authored one of the earliest statements of this hypothesis. However, it was Gordon Allport who in ...

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