• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Contact Hypothesis

  • By: J. Nicole Shelton & Jennifer A. Richeson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

The contact hypothesis lies at the center of social psychological research on prejudice reduction. The effort to understand if contact between groups would facilitate intergroup relations was triggered after World War II by the human relations movement. In its simplest form, the contact hypothesis proposes that contact between individuals of different groups will improve relations between them. Over the years since the introduction of the contact hypothesis by Gordon Allport, a long list of optimal conditions to yield improved relations has been forwarded. However, most of the empirical findings from studies focusing on the contact hypothesis suggest that the optimal conditions can be narrowed down to four essential factors.

Essential Conditions of the Contact Hypothesis

One essential factor in order for contact to facilitate harmonious intergroup relations ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles