Can Imagination Reduce Prejudice Over Time? A Preregistered Test of the Imagined Contact Hypothesis

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Journal Article

Research on the imagined contact hypothesis suggests that simply imagining a positive interaction with an out-group member can reduce prejudice toward stigmatized social groups. To date, however, it remains unclear whether imagined contact has transient or long-lasting effects. This preregistered study (N = 153) tested the hypothesis that a single session of imagined contact is sufficient for reducing explicit and implicit prejudice toward a stigmatized social group and intergroup anxiety over several days. Highlighting the power of imagination, the results suggest that imagined contact could have long-lasting effects on explicit prejudice and intergroup anxiety. © 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Basic and Applied Social Psychology
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Journal Article
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“Participants went to the laboratory two times, separated by 15.18 days (SD = 2.84). The first time, participants took part in an unrelated experiment. At the end of that experiment, the participants were asked to complete another brief experiment with the control or imagined contact intervention. The experimenter was blind to the condition and hypothesis. When the participants came to the laboratory the second time, they completed the dependent measures. The second experimenter was also blind to the condition.”

“Participants were randomly allocated to the control condition (n = 75) or the imagined contact condition (n = 76).”

“In the two conditions, participants first read the following [Text A…]”

“[...] participants in the imagined contact condition read the following [Text B…]”

“Participants wrote on a sheet of paper what they imagined for each scenario.”

“Approximately 15 days later, the participants returned to the laboratory to complete three measures used to assess prejudiced attitudes towards persons with schizophrenia.”

“The first measure was an Implicit Association Test [...]”

“The second measure was a 14-item scale of intergroup anxiety [...]”

“Explicit attitudes towards schizophrenia were measured with six questions [...]”


Type of Prejudice/Bias