Intergroup Contact, Social Dominance and Environmental Concern: A Test of the Cognitive-Liberalization Hypothesis

Meleady, Rose, Crisp, Richard J., Dhont, Kristof, Hopthrow, Tim and Turner, Rhiannon (2019) Intergroup Contact, Social Dominance and Environmental Concern: A Test of the Cognitive-Liberalization Hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. ISSN 0022-3514

Download (1MB) | Preview


Intergroup contact is among the most effective ways to improve intergroup attitudes. While it is now beyond any doubt that contact can reduce prejudice, in this paper we provide evidence that its benefits can extend beyond intergroup relations – a process referred to as cognitive liberalization (Hodson, Crisp, Meleady & Earle, 2018). We focus specifically on the impact of intergroup contact on environmentally-relevant attitudes and behavior. Recent studies suggest that support for an inequality-based ideology (Social Dominance Orientation) can predict both intergroup attitudes and broader environmental conduct. Individuals higher in SDO are more willing to exploit the environment in unsustainable ways because doing so aids the production and maintenance of hierarchical social structures. In four studies conducted with British adults we show that by promoting less hierarchical and more egalitarian viewpoints (reduced SDO), intergroup contact encourages more environmentally responsible attitudes and behavior. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal data support this model. Effects are more strongly explained by reductions in an anti-egalitarian motive (SDO-E) than a dominance motive (SDO-D). We discuss how these findings help define an expanded vision for intergroup contact theory that moves beyond traditional conflict-related outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: intergroup contact,environmental concern,social dominance orientation,prejudice,cognitive liberalization
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2019 08:30
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2020 02:58
DOI: 10.1037/pspi0000196

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item