Research on prejudice and how it can be reduced has been on the forefront of scientific research
in social psychology since the 1950’s. However, this scholarly focus on mere prejudice reduction
only provides limited answers to the question of how positive intergroup relations develop. This is
relevant in Western European countries, where intergroup tensions arise from immigration waves,
but also in countries such as South Africa, where intergroup tensions have developed historically.
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of how not only negative, but also positive
intergroup relations can develop, it is vital to consider both individual and contextual
determinants. Therefore, in this project, we bring together different research traditions and
investigate the interplay between individual ‘traits’ (i.e., social-ideological beliefs) and contextual
factors (i.e., diversity and group norms). In particular, we propose that “galvanizing” and
“mobilizing” interaction pathways contribute to positive intergroup attitudes, positive attitudes
towards reconciliation (i.e., restoration of intergroup relations after conflict), and support for
affirmative action (i.e., policy promoting equal opportunities). To address these focal issues, we
use a combination of cross-sectional, multilevel, and longitudinal studies. The proposed person x
context interaction perspective will advance our understanding of how harmonious intergroup
dynamics develop in contemporary multi-ethnic societies.