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Spontaneous imagined intergroup contact and intergroup relations: Quality matters

Spontaneous imagined intergroup contact and intergroup relations: Quality matters

Stathi, Sofia ORCID: 0000-0002-1218-5239, Guerra, Rita, Di Bernardo, Gian Antonio and Vezzali, Loris (2019) Spontaneous imagined intergroup contact and intergroup relations: Quality matters. European Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0046-2772 (Print), 1099-0992 (Online) (In Press) (doi:

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While research on experimental interventions that aim to improve outgroup attitudes via contact imagery grows, it is important to examine if contact imagery that occurs in spontaneous, non‐experimentally controlled conditions drives attitudes, and in what direction. To answer this, we constructed and validated a spontaneous imagined intergroup contact scale (SIICS) that differentiates between frequency, quality and elaboration of the spontaneous imagery of outgroups. In three correlational studies (NPortugal = 305, NUnited Kingdom = 185, NItaly = 276), we tested the role of spontaneous imagined contact frequency, quality and elaboration in predicting attitudes and social distance (Studies 1‐3) and intended behaviour (Study 3) toward immigrant groups. Results demonstrated that spontaneous imagined contact quality consistently predicted key outcome variables above and beyond the other two dimensions. Importantly, the effects were significant while controlling for other potent forms of direct and indirect contact. Implications of the findings for theory and practice are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Imagined contact, Attitudes, Intended behaviour, Empathy, 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: 22 Jul 2019 10:26
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None

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