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Imagining intergroup contact is more cognitively difficult for people higher in intergroup anxiety but this does not detract from its effectiveness

Imagining intergroup contact is more cognitively difficult for people higher in intergroup anxiety but this does not detract from its effectiveness

Birtel, Michèle D. ORCID: 0000-0002-2383-9197 and Crisp, Richard J. (2012) Imagining intergroup contact is more cognitively difficult for people higher in intergroup anxiety but this does not detract from its effectiveness. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 15 (6). pp. 744-761. ISSN 1368-4302 (Print), 1461-7188 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430212443867)

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Abstract

Imagined intergroup contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009) is a new indirect contact strategy for promoting tolerance and more positive intergroup attitudes. We asked whether the positive effects of imagined contact are contingent upon characteristics that define the experience of intergroup relations. Specifically, we tested whether precontact intergroup anxiety makes imagining contact more cognitively effortful, and if it does, whether this detracts from its effectiveness. In two studies participants were asked to either imagine contact with an outgroup member or a control scene. We found that imagining contact counteracted the negative impact of intergroup anxiety on outgroup communicative behavior. Furthermore, performance on an ostensibly unrelated Stroop task revealed that this compensatory benefit requires cognitive resources proportional to the level of precontact anxiety. We conclude that the detrimental impacts of intergroup anxiety can be assuaged by imagining contact, but that doing so requires the allocation of attentional resources proportional to the positivity of preintervention contact experiences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Intergroup contact; Imagined contact; Prejudice; Intergroup anxiety
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Education & Health
Faculty of Education & Health > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2017 12:39
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/17929

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