Harmony and conflict in intergroup relations: the effect of intergroup contact on collective action tendencies in members of advantaged and disadvantaged groups

01 October 2014 → 30 September 2018
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Parenting and family education
    • Specialist studies in education
relations conflict
Project description

There has been much scholarly attention in psychology for prejudice and how it can be reduced.
Intergroup contact theory (Allport, 1954) holds that intergroup contact leads to prejudice
reduction. However, other scholars have reported that positive contact weakens the readiness of members of disadvantaged groups to engage in collective action that improves their group’s societal position. The present research proposal is situated at the intersection of the study of intergroup contact and collective action and will investigate how intergroup contact between members of disadvantaged and advantaged groups influences their willingness to engage in collective action. We expect that, although positive intergroup contact decreases collective action among disadvantaged group members, positive intergroup contact will increase advantaged group members’ readiness for solidarity-based action. Furthermore, we investigate the effects of negative contact and anticipate negative contact effects on non-normative collective action among members of disadvantaged groups and on status-quo action among members of advantaged groups. We will also investigate the psychological mechanisms underlying these effects (e.g.,
group-based anger and outgroup sympathy), as well as whether the effects of intergroup contact on collective action depend on certain individual characteristics (e.g., authoritarianism). We employ a combination of experimental and (longitudinal) survey studies.