Crossing the divide: promoting confidence in contact in a diverse world

by Rhiannon N. Turner

27 Apr 2020
Journal of the British Academy, volume 8 (2020)
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Abstract: We are living in an increasingly diverse world, an exciting prospect given that positive interactions between people from different social groups have numerous benefits. Unfortunately, however, people often fail to engage in such interactions. Moreover, there is evidence that prejudice, both at an individual and a societal level, remains prevalent. To navigate the diverse world in which we live and, in turn, promote positive intergroup relations, it is important to develop skills and beliefs that will enable us to engage confidently in cross-group relationships. This article will highlight research which demonstrates some of the many benefits of engaging in intergroup contact, from more positive intergroup relations to broader changes in the way we think. The importance of promoting confidence at engaging in contact and its potential predictors and outcomes will be considered. Finally, interventions—specifically extended contact, imagined contact and online contact or e-contact—will be outlined that can help to make people more confident, and in turn more likely to engage in successful interactions with people from different backgrounds to themselves.

Keywords: Intergroup contact, extended contact, imagined contact, e-contact, intergroup relations.

Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture, read 12 September 2019.

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