Beware of ‘reducing prejudice’: Imagined contact may backfire if applied with a prevention focus.

West, Keon and Greenland, Katie. 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. ISSN 0021-9029 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

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

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12387

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
15 September 2015UNSPECIFIED
20 June 2016Published Online
4 October 2016Published

Item ID:

17936

Date Deposited:

12 Apr 2016 14:18

Last Modified:

12 Apr 2018 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/17936

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