These slides are from a presentation Dr. Dovidio gave for a scientific audience at the U Mass Conference on Inter-Group Conflict, 2010
The effects of positive intergroup contact for improving intergroup attitudes are impressively and extensively documented. Beyond demonstrating the robustness of these effects, recently research has focused on identifying key factors that influence the effectiveness of contact and on the psychological processes that underlie the influence of contact on reduced prejudice.
For instance, intergroup contact is more effective for improving the attitudes of majority-group members toward minorities than for creating more favorable attitudes among minority-group members toward majorities. With respect to mechanisms, research on the Common Ingroup Identity Model has demonstrated that intergroup contact is effective, in part, because it alters the way members perceive the groups, from two groups to one more inclusive group. The current presentation discusses fundamental ways in which majority and minority group members approach intergroup contact, have different goals (e.g. social stability vs. social change), adopt different strategies (e.g., assimilation vs. pluralism), and have different perceptions of intergroup contact and experience different outcomes. Moreover, this work suggests that more positive intergroup /attitudes/ alone may not be sufficient to produce /action/ for social change, and that a focus solely on common identity may reduce motivations for social change among members of both majority and minority groups. Implications of the research for diverse forms of intergroup relations, such as between members of host countries and immigrants and majority and minority groups within societies, are considered. The presentation concludes by examining implications for future research and social policy.