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A normative approach to intergroup contact: the role of ingroup norms regarding interactions with members of the outgroup

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:10 authored by Pablo Andres De Tezanos-Pinto
The main argument developed in this thesis is that individuals are not only affected by their own experiences of intergroup contact, but also by the contact they perceive is occurring around them. A pivotal reason for this is a change in the perception of ingroup norms regarding intergroup interactions, which can shape intergroup attitudes and make future positive intergroup contact experiences more likely. Chapter 1 provides a review of the literature of intergroup contact and makes the case for the necessity of a normative perspective on intergroup contact research. I Chapter 2, I provide a brief overview of the literature regarding the effect of social norms in intergroup relations, and describe in more detail the theoretical model proposed. Chapters 3 and 4 provide some initial evidence for the model using cross-sectional studies, showing that ingroup norms are associated with attitudes and with the intention of having intergroup contact, and that direct and indirect contact rely on different mechanisms to improve attitudes towards the outgroup. The effect of indirect contact is of a normative nature while the effect of direct contact is more emotional. Chapter 5 focuses on the distinction between ingroup norms about contact and ingroup norms about expressing prejudice, and the evaluation of moderators of the effect in ingroup norms. Chapter 6 reports two longitudinal studies, providing some evidence in support for a causal effect of ingroup norms about contact on several outcomes; and Chapter 7 reports a series of experiments, including results showing that ingroup norms predict the success of an actual interaction with outgroup members. In Chapter 8, I summarise the evidence for the theoretical model proposed and discuss some promising directions for future research, as well as the implications of these results for the reduction of segregation and the improvement of intergroup relations in general.


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