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Beware of "reducing prejudice": imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus

West, Keon and Greenland, Katy ORCID: 2016. Beware of "reducing prejudice": imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 46 (10) , pp. 583-592. 10.1111/jasp.12387

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Imagined intergroup contact—the mental simulation of a (positive) interaction with a member of another group—is a recently developed, low-risk, prejudice-reducing intervention. However, regulatory focus can moderate of the effects of prejudice-reducing interventions: a prevention focus (as opposed to a promotion focus) can lead to more negative outcomes. In two experiments we found that a prevention focus altered imagined contact's effects, causing the intervention to backfire. In Experiment 1, participants who reported a strong prevention-focus during imagined contact subsequently reported higher intergroup anxiety and (indirectly) less positive attitudes toward Asians. We found similar moderating effects in Experiment 2, using a different outgroup (gay men) and a subtle regulatory focus manipulation. Theoretical and practical implications for imagined contact are discussed

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Publisher: Wiley Blackwell
ISSN: 0021-9029
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 2 May 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 06:54

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