Imagined Intergroup Physical Contact Improves Attitudes Toward Immigrants

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In this set of research, we investigated the effects of intergroup physical contact on intergroup attitudes by relying on indirect contact strategies, namely the imagined contact paradigm. We implemented the imagined contact paradigm by leading participants to shape the mental imagery upon pictorial information. Specifically, in Study 1 participants saw a picture of a white hand touching a black hand [i.e., intergroup physical contact condition (InterPC)] or a picture of an outdoor scene (i.e., control condition), and were asked to imagine being either the toucher or in the outdoor scene, respectively. Results demonstrated that InterPC compared to control condition reduced intergroup bias. In Study 2 we compared the InterPC condition to a condition in which participants saw a white hand touching another white hand [i.e., intragroup physical contact (IntraPC)], and imagined to be the toucher. Again, we found that participants in the InterPC condition showed reduced intergroup bias compared to the IntraPC. Study 3 replicated results of Studies 1 and 2 by using an implicit measure of prejudice. Also, Study 3 further showed that asking participants to merely look at the picture of a white hand touching a black hand, without imagining being the toucher was not effective in reducing implicit prejudice. Results were discussed with respect to the literature on physical contact and prejudice reduction processes. © 2018 Shamloo, Carnaghi, Piccoli, Grassi and Bianchi.

Frontiers in Psychology
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