What makes people engage in contact? The importance of perceptions, norms and context

Bataille, Agatha Melina Ariane (2023) What makes people engage in contact? The importance of perceptions, norms and context. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Intergroup contact reduces prejudice in a wide variety of contexts. However, cross-group interactions are often missed or actively avoided, even when conditions are favourable. Understanding when and why people choose to engage in intergroup contact has become essential to promote its benefits. Across six studies, this thesis explores the impact of three main factors (i.e., meta-perception, perception of the outgroup and contact norms) on intergroup contact engagement in two distinct contexts. The first part of this thesis critically reviews the literature on the subject.

The second part (Chapter 2) uses scenario methodology to explore people's beliefs regarding intergroup contact. Findings reveal that people believe self metaperception and feelings of similarity to be the most important factors regarding intergroup contact engagement.

The third part (Chapter 3 and Chapter 4) tested the Perception-norm model whereby meta-perception and perception of the outgroup indirectly predict intergroup contact engagement by informing people's perception of the intergroup normative context (in political and racial contexts in the U.S.). We argue that if an individual holds positive meta-perceptions and perceptions of the outgroup (measured on competence, warmth, morality, and positivity), the more they will perceive positive normative support for intergroup contact. This, in turn, will lead to an increased desire to interact with the outgroup. Three studies partially support our model using structural equation modelling and reveal that these effects depend on the intergroup context. Finally, two additional studies using experimental manipulations of perceptions and an actual contact opportunity provide further evidence of the effect of meta-perceptions, perception of the outgroup and contact norms on contact, and the importance of considering the intergroup context.

Overall, this thesis highlights the role of perceptions, norms and the intergroup context in intergroup contact engagement and provides theoretical knowledge to design target-specific interventions.

Keywords: Intergroup contact engagement, meta-perceptions, norms, context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 15:44
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 15:44
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94724


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