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Nicole Tausch∗ & Miles Hewstone

In: The SAGE Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination

Chapter 33: Intergroup Contact

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Intergroup Contact
Intergroup contact

This chapter reviews the overwhelming evidence in support of the contact hypothesis, whereby positive contact between members of different groups is associated with reduced prejudice and improved intergroup relations. We address the generalization of contact effects, and summarize recent advancements in theory and research, reviewing the benefits of different types of contact, the person and group factors that can limit the effectiveness of contact, and the underlying psychological processes that mediate the effect of contact on prejudice. We then show that contact also affects non-conscious, automatic processes, the strength and meaningfulness of outgroup attitudes, and the willingness to trust and forgive outgroups. We conclude by identifying a number of challenging issues for future research, including behavioral, ideological, and collective consequences of contact.

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