Remembering the past, experiencing the present, and predicting the future: Social-cognitive perspectives on intergroup contact

Vermue, Marieke (2019) Remembering the past, experiencing the present, and predicting the future: Social-cognitive perspectives on intergroup contact. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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One of the most robust interventions for reducing prejudice is intergroup contact. Whilst the affective processes involved in prejudice reduction via intergroup contact are becoming well understood, this thesis explores novel social-cognitive factors surrounding intergroup contact. Two strands of research explore how people look back at past contact and look forward to future interactions with unfamiliar group members. Experiments 1 to 4 examine how experiences of fluency in recalling past contact may influence people’s perceptions of their intergroup contact, and in turn influence outgroup attitudes and future contact intentions. Utilising two different paradigms in Chapter 2 and 3, no effect of the manipulation of contact retrieval fluency was found on any of the outcome variables. Potential reasons for this null-effect are discussed, including memory biases, inference processes regarding the contact-attitude relationship, and affective and normative components of prejudice. The second strand of research described in Chapter 4 and 5 moves focus from the past to the future, to examine generalisation of intergroup contact to trust behaviour towards novel group members. This process of member-to-member generalisation was examined within a Trust Game paradigm, where group membership and interaction valence were manipulated. Experiments 5 to 8 demonstrate that people use their experiences with group members to inform decisions to trust unknown individuals in the future. Member-to-member generalisation was enhanced for negative compared to positive experiences, but was particularly attuned to violations of previous group-based beliefs. Together, this thesis highlights the importance of social-cognitive processes involved in intergroup contact generalisation to attitudes and behaviour, and shows the potential of using laboratory-based behavioural measures to examine intergroup contact.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2019 10:33
Last Modified: 22 Jan 2019 10:33

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